Congress Targets TikTok’s Allies Ahead of Legal Battle

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise pressured NetChoice to abandon TikTok

As TikTok gears up to battle a law that will ban the video-sharing platform, Congress is attempting to strip away its allies. NetChoice, a trade association representing major tech companies, no longer lists TikTok as a client.

On Wednesday, POLITICO reported that NetChoice “faced pressure from the office of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) to dump TikTok.” Another source said the trade group succumbed to pressure after it learned “that the Select Committee on China would be investigating groups associated with TikTok and decided to sever ties as a result.”

A representative of Scalise appeared to confirm the intimidation scheme in a statement to POLITICO. “It should not come as a surprise to those representing TikTok that as long as TikTok remains connected to the CCP, Congress will continue its rigorous oversight efforts to safeguard Americans from foreign threats,” he said.

POLITICO reported in March that members of Congress were considering whether to blacklist companies that represent TikTok. At the time, Sen. Tom Cotton said meeting with the head of TikTok was equivalent to taking a meeting with the Taliban or Hamas.

TikTok spokesperson Alex Haurek blasted the Select Committee on China for intimidating its allies. “The Select Committee’s brazen efforts to intimidate private organizations for associating with a company with 170 million American users is a clear abuse of power that smacks of McCarthyism,” he said. “It’s a sad day when Members of Congress single out individual companies without evidence while trampling on constitutional rights and the democratic process.”

NetChoice has not issued a statement on its decision to drop TikTok as a client. The group claims to lobby for the First Amendment rights of its clients, which include Amazon and Meta.

The pressure on TikTok has been building for several months as users of the platform have shared overwhelming pro-Palestinian content. Sen. Mitt Romney recently admitted that it was a concern for Israel’s public image that caused Congress to finally pass a law that banned TikTok.

The bill, which President Joe Biden signed into law as part of the $95 billion foreign military aid legislation, gives TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, nine months to sell the video-sharing platform or face a ban in the US.

ByteDance does not plan to sell TikTok and will challenge the constitutionality of the law in US court. While some observers, such as Sen. Rand Paul, expect TikTok to prevail, it is unclear what impact stripping away powerful allies will have.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.