Common sense tells us that when someone says, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” the inverse of that statement is not, “you will get sick and immediately die if you forget to pack an apple for lunch.”

Yet TikTok parent company ByteDance thinks Americans are credulous enough to accept the premise that we are about to ingest a cyanide pill if Congress passes what is being termed a federal “TikTok ban.” And for those who aren’t willing to buy that pretense on first blush, in a display of irony so thick you can cut through it with a knife, it’s wielding the platform that 170 million Americans frequent to distort the truth and galvanize its users — many of them children — to bully members of Congress into promoting a legislative agenda that advances the interests of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Sound like hyperbole? Then let’s do something the entire government relations team of TikTok neglected to do — look at the bill.

First, despite TikTok’s claims of targeted discrimination and First Amendment violations, the bill does not outline an explicit prohibition on TikTok. It simply states that applications controlled by foreign adversaries cannot operate within the borders of the United States. So, let’s be clear — this is not a TikTok ban. This is a cybersecurity measure asserting that America is not comfortable with CCP despots obtaining our sensitive information and using it to subvert the free flow of information, the health and wellness of our children, and the safety and security of Americans based on digital dossiers knitted together by our geopolitical adversary.

In Texas alone, scores of children have tragically died from content and challenges TikTok knowingly and eagerly promotes for underage users. Juxtapose that with the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, which promotes educational material to its users. As social media reform advocate Tristan Harris puts it, “It’s almost like they recognize that technology is influencing kids’ development, and they make their domestic version a spinach version of TikTok, while they ship the opium version to the rest of the world.”

The next part of the bill is a consumer agency piece. Just like the 13 states that have stepped up in light congressional inaction to pass consumer data privacy reforms, this legislation provides a right for users to request all the data foreign adversaries have collected on Americans through their application.

Two quick points here. First, if TikTok executives did not perjure themselves while testifying before Congress that there is not a shred of personal data on TikTok users stored overseas, then they have nothing to worry about. And yet they tremble. Curious.

Second, data privacy laws are widely popular with Americans, with nearly three-quarters supporting more regulations to protect consumer data.

Finally — and this is where the false dichotomy comes crumbling down — the bill gives a clear out for TikTok: divest from the CCP before the bill goes into effect and you can continue operating in America. But they catastrophize and point a loaded gun at their own head, saying they will cease to exist if and when this bill is signed by the president. Americans know better and can see through this bluff. If it really was about providing content and entertainment to its 170 million American users and not about pushing a meticulously engineered Trojan horse of data collection, surveillance, and social manipulation on behalf of the CCP, they wouldn’t blink at the chance to divest.

Amid the reports of TikTok pressuring American users to contact their member of Congress and urge them to vote no, a harrowing reality has emerged. Many of these callers are children, who report being on the app every waking moment. Some have gone as far as to threaten to assassinate members of Congress or take their own lives if this bill is signed into law. Not that we needed more evidence for Tristan Harris’ claim that this is China’s Opium War 2.0, but the severity of kids’ addiction to this destructive app demands the compassionate response of going through with this.

Big Tech government relations teams should watch with bated breath as TikTok makes history with what is perhaps the most out-of-touch, asinine lobbying strategy K Street has ever seen. But as TikTok users are wont to say, “play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

We need not accept the false dichotomy that our country will come to a screeching halt if we hold TikTok to its own self-proclaimed standards. Americans know better than to be bullied out of our sovereignty by overseas tech giants.