TikTok makes ad buy as Senate reviews bill that could ban app


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TikTok has launched a $2.1 million advertising campaign with a clear message for senators in tough reelection fights this year: Block the House bill that could effectively ban the app in the United States.

“Think about the 5 million small business owners that rely on TikTok to provide for their families,” one purported TikTok user says in the ad. “To see all of that disappear would be so sad,” says another apparent user.

The company has reserved television ad space in the battleground states of Nevada, Montana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to previously unreported data from AdImpact.

All five states are represented by vulnerable Senate Democrats, each of whom is running for another six-year term.

Other states that will see the new TikTok ads include New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota, according to the ad buy data.

The Big Apple and Beantown are key ad markets for reaching young people and journalists. Minnesota is the home state of Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, one of TikTok’s fiercest critics in Congress. Klobuchar is also up for reelection this year.

The ads started running on Wednesday, with the buy set to end end either April 14 or April 28, depending on where the spots are airing, according to the data.

One of the new ads obtained by CNBC purports to show TikTok users warning their target audiences of how much would be lost if TikTok were banned.

“It’s gonna affect a lot of people’s livelihoods,” says a sad-looking woman.

Senate path

Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington, speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., recently said senators would need time to “review the legislation” before he could share any timelines for potential passage.

President Joe Biden has said he would sign the bill if if passes the Senate. Intelligence community officials recently delivered a classified briefing on TikTok to senators.

Following the briefing, Commerce Committee chair Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said her panel might need to hold a public hearing on the bill.

High-pressure lobbying

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