Team Biden Is Posting Through the Looming TikTok Ban


I mentioned this in our first newsletter, but Representative Jeff Jackson from North Carolina had to issue a full-out YouTube-style apology video after his TikTok followers figured out he voted in support of this bill. Jackson’s posted to TikTok only a handful of times since the incident.

Biden’s relationship with the app hasn’t really seemed to change much, however, and his campaign intends to keep using the platform to reach voters throughout the election.

“A fragmented media environment requires us to show up and meet voters where they are—and that includes online,” a Biden campaign official told NBC News on Wednesday. “TikTok is one of many places we’re making sure our content is being seen by voters.”

It’s too early to tell exactly which way the wind is blowing as far as public sentiment is concerned, but a lot of people aren’t thrilled.

“If [Biden] wants to earn the trust of young people back, which he has repeatedly betrayed, he needs to be open and transparent about the reasoning behind this ban,” Luke Mullen, an actor, filmmaker, and activist with a large TikTok following told me on Wednesday. “So far he’s said nothing, which feels like a belittlement of our intelligence. Young Americans aren’t stupid.”

Beyond a lack of transparency, some creators and activists have told me that they feel like the ban is a direct response to the activism happening on the platform.

“Regardless of the reason for the ban, the fact that TikTok specifically, as opposed to other social media sites that misuse user data, is being targeted sends a message to young people that their speech is being censored,” Victoria Hammett, deputy executive director and programming director for Gen Z for Change, told me over the phone. “Regardless of whether or not that is the reason for the ban, that is clearly the message that Congress is sending to young people.”

If TikTok were to disappear, many of these creators and activists could lose their platforms.

“I’ve personally witnessed the power and increased voice young people have through specifically TikTok, and getting rid of our one place for that would be troubling to say the least,” says Mullen.

For now? Biden’s just posting through it.

The Chatroom

I’m going to keep it short this week. How do you feel about this TikTok bill? Are you a creator or small business owner who is worried about reaching your fans or customers? Are you part of a campaign or political group rethinking your entire media strategy this year? Or maybe you’re a TikTok user who receives a lot of their news on the app—let me know!

With your permission, I’d like to include some of your thoughts and stories in the newsletter next week. Leave a comment on the site, or send me an email at mail@wired.com.

💬 Leave a comment below this article.

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What Else We’re Reading

🔗 As Meta flees politics, campaigns rely on new tricks to reach voters: Campaigns across the political spectrum have seen engagement on Meta-owned platforms tank over the past year. (The Washington Post)

🔗 Oracle met with Senate aides about TikTok data storage after House ban passed: The clock is ticking for TikTok, and Oracle is already freaked out that a ban on the app could impact its business. (CNBC)

🔗 ‘Thunder Run’: Behind Lawmakers’ Secretive Push to Pass the TikTok Bill: It may have seemed like the TikTok bill came out of nowhere, but a small group of lawmakers have been quietly crafting it for almost a year. (The New York Times)

The Download

It’s going to be all TikTok all the time for the next few weeks, I fear. If you’re looking for a great primer on all of the trickle-down effects this law will have, you should check out our latest Politics Lab podcast episode. I discuss it all with my editor and host of the show Leah Feiger and my colleague Vittoria Elliott!

You can listen to the show wherever you download podcasts. Go subscribe! If the next few weeks are as chaotic as this one, you just might miss it.

That’s it for today—thanks again for subscribing. You can get in touch with me via email, Instagram, X and Signal at makenakelly.32.





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