Freshman House Democrat Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-NC), who has over a million followers on TikTok, recognizes the security concerns with the Chinese social media app but does not think the platform will be fully banned.
North Carolina lawmaker told NBC News that he could reach more people on the Chinese social media app than other platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. He acknowledged “real” security concerns but thinks a total ban will not happen.
“It just happens to be the case that you get way more views on TikTok than you do on Instagram or Facebook. Like ten times as many,” the 40-year-old freshman congressman told NBC News. “I have been able to reach a lot of people, and at the same time, I think the security concerns are real.”
“I don’t think he was being hyperbolic,” Jackson added when referring to FBI Director Christopher Wray saying last November that TikTok poses national security risks and acknowledging that China’s government can use it to influence users in the United States and have the ability to control users devices.
The congressman also noted that Wray’s highlighted concerns about data privacy and the algorithm “are going to be very hard to resolve as long as this remains a Chinese-owned company.” However, Jackson seems to think banning the Chinese social media app would not be the best-case scenario, given the number of users on the platform.
“I think they have a case to make about how many Americans are using this, and I think the case is that a ban is clearly not the best-case scenario,” he argued while acknowledging that a change in ownership is “necessary at this point.”
The freshman congressman says he keeps a “burner phone” to use TikTok and does not keep the Chinese social media app on his government-issued or personal phones. “It’s worth it to have a dedicated phone and to have it be a bit of a headache sometimes to use just because there are a lot of people I can reach,” he added.
Last year the Chinese social media app was banned on U.S. government devices for being a potential national security problem after a provision was added to the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill President Joe Biden signed into law.
Additionally, legislation that would empower the secretary of Commerce to “ban or prohibit” foreign technology from six adversary nations from entering the United States would ultimately include TikTok’s China-based parent company.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.