They voted for the bill that could ban TikTok. They also actively use the app.

Lawmakers Who Voted for TikTok Ban Bill Are Active Users of the App

Democratic Representative Jeff Jackson shared his thoughts on the State of the Union from his kitchen, a setting familiar to his TikTok followers. He humorously acknowledged the risks of discussing politics from such a personal space. That evening, the kitchen lights shone three times brighter than usual. Jackson also mentioned a playful wager on the number of heckles from Congress members and shared a touching moment when his wife, Marisa, stood up to applaud President Biden’s mention of IVF treatments, a procedure they’ve undergone twice.

Jackson’s casual and relatable approach has won him a significant TikTok following, surpassing two million in nearly three years. He often touches on his experiences in Congress, including responding to criticism and sharing personal stories, like undergoing IVF with his wife. His content ranges from light-hearted bets to more serious discussions about political corruption, which he illustrates through various activities, including boxing.

Despite his popularity on TikTok, Jackson was among the 352 House members who supported legislation potentially leading to a nationwide TikTok ban, a move that has sparked criticism from his followers. Following the bill’s passage, many users expressed their disappointment, leading to a noticeable dip in Jackson’s follower count.

Jackson isn’t alone; several House members who enjoy TikTok’s benefits also backed the bill. Representatives like Colin Allred, Adam Schiff, and Elissa Slotkin, all campaigning for Senate seats, have utilized the platform for various purposes, from boosting campaigns to office communications.

Addressing the backlash, Jackson clarified his stance, suggesting that TikTok’s ban is unlikely and that the bill aims to mandate the app’s sale to a new owner. He emphasized the importance of TikTok continuing its operations under new ownership to mitigate potential control by an adversarial government.

In an apology video, Jackson admitted to mishandling the situation and provided further explanation on his vote, highlighting his support for the app’s forced sale over concerns about adversarial government control. He believes the risk of an actual ban is minimal.

Jackson’s support for the TikTok bill follows his recent victory in the Democratic primary for North Carolina’s attorney general, setting up a November face-off against Republican Dan Bishop. The bill’s proponents argue for the need to regulate technology, especially in light of warnings about potential espionage by China through TikTok.

The legislation, driven by national security concerns regarding TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance, would require the app to sever ties with ByteDance or face removal from U.S. app stores. While the bill has passed the House, its future in the Senate remains uncertain, despite President Biden’s willingness to sign it into law.

Critics of the bill, including TikTok itself, argue that it was rushed and could negatively impact the economy, small businesses, and the millions of Americans who use the app. Digital strategist Annie Wu Henry highlighted TikTok’s role in creating an accessible space for diverse voices, emphasizing the potential loss if the platform were restricted.

House members who use TikTok for campaigning and office communications, including Sean Casten, Greg Landsman, and Wiley Nickel, also supported the bill. They stress the importance of transparency and accountability in their use of social media to engage with constituents.

As discussions continue, the fate of TikTok in the U.S. remains in the balance, with concerns about the precedent this legislation could set for the future of app regulation and digital freedom.