Congress Moves To Crack Down On Threatening Calls After Teens Raged Over TikTok Ban

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Zack Brave Capitol Hill Reporter
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The House Administration Committee announced a new system to track the identity of threatening callers in a notice sent to congressional offices Monday.

In light of the debate surrounding legislation to ban TikTok, lawmakers’ offices witnessed an uptick in threatening messages. The United States Capital Police (USCP) claimed the new switchboard system will enhance the investigation of harassing calls and help staff follow up with constituents. (RELATED: House Passes Bill That Forces Chinese Parent Company To Sell TikTok)

The Guardian reported that high schoolers flooded the phone lines of members’ offices immediately after the bill cleared the House.

Communications Director for the Republican Florida Congressman. Vern Buchanan posted on Twitter about the slew of calls the office received at the height of the legislative debate.

“The Committee on House Administration is pleased to announce recent updates to the Capitol Switchboard System that will allow Member offices to identify the phone numbers of callers connected to their offices via the switchboard,” the Committee wrote in the memo. “These changes will greatly enhance the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP)’ ability to identify and investigate individuals who make threatening or harassing calls to Member offices and provide staff with a number they can use to follow up with constituents.”

On March 13, the U.S. House of Representatives resoundingly approved a bill mandating ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to divest the U.S. assets of the popular short-video app within approximately six months or face a ban. This bill marks the most significant challenge to TikTok since the era of the Trump administration.

“The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their constitutional right to free expression,” said Michael Hughes, spokesperson for TikTok, in a statement to the media. “This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country.”

TikTok, used by roughly 170 million Americans, has become a big concern in Washington. Members’ offices have seen a surge in calls from TikTok users who oppose the legislation.