TikTok Lobbying Efforts in the United States

TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, have been actively lobbying in the United States to prevent legislation that could potentially ban the social media app. Combined, they have spent over $7 million this year alone on lobbying efforts. ByteDance invested a record $2.68 million on in-house TikTok lobbyists, while TikTok itself spent over $4.5 million on a television and digital ad campaign to push back on potential legislation. This significant expenditure demonstrates the importance they place on educating policymakers about the impact of such legislation on their large community of 170 million American users.

The lobbying disclosure reports reveal that TikTok officials targeted Congress and President Joe Biden’s executive office in their efforts last quarter. This includes lobbying key divisions within the Executive Office of the President, such as the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The House recently passed legislation that would require ByteDance to divest the social media app within nine months or face a ban in the U.S., and the Senate is set to vote on a similar bill soon.

External Consultants

In addition to their in-house lobbying efforts, ByteDance also made payments to external consultants to influence Congress. Veteran lobbyist David Urban received $80,000 last quarter from ByteDance to work on their March bill targeting the technology company. This marks the most Urban’s firm, LGL Advisors, has been paid by ByteDance in a single quarter according to federal lobbying data. Despite the significant spending on lobbying, the White House has not provided any comments on the matter.

TikTok has also engaged external lobbying firms, spending over $400,000 since the beginning of the year in Washington. This significant investment in lobbying efforts is not new for ByteDance and TikTok, as they have a history of spending on similar endeavors. In 2023, ByteDance and TikTok collectively spent over $8 million on lobbying efforts, showcasing the importance they place on influencing legislation that could impact their operations in the United States.

The significant financial resources invested by TikTok and ByteDance in lobbying efforts demonstrate their commitment to influencing legislation that could potentially ban the popular social media app in the U.S. By targeting key policymakers in Congress and the Executive Office of the President, as well as engaging external consultants, they are actively working to protect their interests and the large user base they have in America.


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