MP apologizes after voting for TikTok ban, wants shouting to stop

Congressman Jeff Jackson’s latest TikTok video begins simply: “I apologize.” Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill that could eventually ban TikTok in the United States. For many, this turned Jackson into enemy number one. The North Carolina Democrat amassed 2.3 million followers on TikTok last year, using the app to transform himself from an unknown first-term congressman into an outright internet celebrity. But Jackson joined 352 other House members in supporting the so-called TikTok “ban,” sparking outrage, calls of hypocrisy and even conspiracy theories. Now, Jackson has deleted a video celebrating the bill and is desperately trying to salvage his online reputation.

“I’m not handling this situation well from top to bottom, which is why I’ve been completely obsessed with this app for the past 48 hours,” Jackson said on TikTok on Sunday. “I get it. If I were in your position I would probably feel the same way. I would be upset to see someone using this app to build a following but seemingly voting against it.”

Influencer apologizes is a time-honored internet tradition, and like many of his previous videos, Jackson’s video follows the classic “Sorry, not sorry” format. He stopped short of saying his vote itself was a mistake, instead apologizing for people misunderstanding the situation.

“I think it would be a better app if we didn’t have to worry about something that comes with it that could be controlled by a hostile government. The part I didn’t like was the part about threatening bans. Half the country is using this app. It has become a force for good in the lives of millions of people,” Jackson said. “So I weighed those two things, and the reason I voted for it is because I sincerely believe that the likelihood of a ban is next to zero for a number of reasons; financial, political, geopolitical. I just don’t think there’s any real Opportunities are barred. I still believe that, but maybe my balance is wrong.”

Jackson released a video celebrating the bill the day it passed the House, laying out arguments against the app and suggesting a ban was unlikely. The video backfired, and Jackson took it down from TikTok after widespread criticism.Users have released numerous viruses Video blaming members of Congresssome have suggested he is on Mehta’s payroll – something Jackson flatly denies. Jackson isn’t the only member of Congress to use TikTok The politician who voted against the app, but as the app’s biggest influence, has been the loudest critic. After the TikTok bill passed, Jackson lost hundreds of thousands of followers.

The bill, which passed the House of Representatives a week after it was introduced, does not call for an outright ban. Instead, it will force TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance to sell the app, although the app will be banned if the sale is not completed in time. The bill faces an uncertain path in the Senate, and while President Biden has promised to sign the bill if it lands on his desk, TikTok is certain to challenge the legislation in court even if it becomes law. If the bill overcomes all these hurdles, the app will find many people eager to buy it. All of this makes a ban unlikely. However, bans remain a very real threat.

The real issue is the controversy behind the war on TikTok. U.S. politicians have been campaigning hard against the app for nearly five years, starting with former President Trump, warning that the Chinese government could use the app to collect user data or manipulate TikTok’s algorithm to sway U.S. voters.

However, the U.S. government has Never produced a shred of evidence Prove that the Chinese government has actually used or influenced TikTok in any inappropriate way. TikTok insists it operates independently and has never shared user data with the Chinese government. These concerns are alarming, and these assumptions are real possibilities, but so far they appear to be just assumptions.

The fact that Jackson couldn’t say anything stronger than that TikTok might be “potentially controlled” by China seemed to acknowledge this.

In Congress, there is support not only for forcing ByteDance to sell the app, but also for banning it outright. Government intelligence agencies have briefed Congress about the app in closed hearings, but the nature of the evidence Congress has seen is unclear.

Some, including Jackson, say the confidential hearings demonstrate the need for action. “I have undisclosed information about this app,” Jackson said in the video. “I’ve been to some briefings about this app and they were truly shocking.”

However, others who voted against the ban, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, said they were The meeting saw no evidence that TikTok posed any unique threat.

For example, there is ample evidence that Russia used Facebook and X/Twitter to spread misinformation and sow conflict during the 2016 presidential election.All major social media apps, including Facebook, Instagram, X, YouTube and Snapchat, have Partnering with Chinese ad tech companies, meaning these apps have sent U.S. user data overseas, potentially exposing this sensitive information to the Chinese government. It’s also worth noting that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, A conservative lobbying firm hired to smear TikTok and convince Congress that the app poses a threat to American children.

All of this leaves TikTok critics like Rep. Jackson in a difficult position, who defend their attacks on the app to an angry public but are unable to present evidence against TikTok — if such evidence existed in the first place.

“My idea was that I could reconcile those two things by making a video that said, ‘Hey, here’s what happened.'” It was a complete disaster. I really overestimated my ability to do that in a really hot moment when millions of people were watching it,” Jackson said. “I blew it. “

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