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Tipsheet

GOP Rep. Calls TikTok ‘Digital Fentanyl’ for American Children

AP Photo

Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin said this week that the social media platform TikTok should be banned in the United States and described it as “digital fentanyl” for children. 

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Gallagher made the remarks in an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” He shared that him and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) has legislation that would ban TikTok over the security risks that it poses to Americans.

“TikTok should be banned. Sen. Marco Rubio and I have legislation that does exactly that. TikTok is digital fentanyl addicting our kids, and just like actual fentanyl, it ultimately goes back to the Chinese Communist Party,” Gallagher said. 

“TikTok is owned by ByteDance. ByteDance is controlled by the CCP. That means the CCP can track your location, it can track your keystrokes, it can censor your news. Why would we give our foremost adversary that amount of power?” he continued, adding that the platform is “using the swamp against us.”

“They're hiring an army of lobbyists, including former congressmen, senators, 31 former high-level congressional staffers in order to do their bidding,” he said. 

This month, Gallagher and Rubio published a piece in The Washington Post stating that the United States is in a “Cold War” with China and that companies like TikTok are required to assist in intelligence work for their government.

“TikTok offers the CCP a unique ability to monitor more than 1 billion users worldwide, including nearly two-thirds of American teenagers. We must ban this potential spyware before it is too late — not encourage its use in the United States, as President Biden is doing,” the two lawmakers wrote.

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“TikTok is a major threat to U.S. national security. Yet Biden is encouraging greater engagement with the platform by directly courting TikTok influencers. Furthermore, reports suggest that he is nearing a deal that would authorize TikTok’s continued operation in the United States without any change in ownership.”

And, the piece pointed out that 23 of ByteDance’s directors previously worked for CCP propaganda outlets. 

“This would dangerously compromise national security and provide a template for other CCP-controlled companies to establish themselves in the United States with minimal scrutiny. Unless TikTok and its algorithm can be separated from Beijing, the app’s use in the United States will continue to jeopardize our country’s safety and pave the way for a Chinese-influenced tech landscape here.”

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