Congressman Warns TikTok Is ‘Digital Fentanyl’ For These Two Reasons
Congressman Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, called TikTok “digital fentanyl” and praised his Senate colleagues for enacting the Chinese social media platform’s ban on government devices.
Gallagher spoke with NBC Meet the press Sunday and said: “I think the comparison is appropriate for at least two reasons. First, it is highly addictive and destructive, and we are seeing disturbing data on the corrosive impact of constant use of social media, in especially on young men and women here in America.”
“It’s also digital fentanyl in the sense that, as you allude to, it ultimately goes to the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok is owned by ByteDance. ByteDance is effectively controlled by the CCP. So we have to ask ourselves if we want the CCP control what is poised to become America’s most powerful media corporation,” the congressman said.
TikTok has recently been a priority for Democrats and Republicans alike, with lawmakers banning the social media app from government devices. President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a ban on using the app on federal government devices, which was passed by Congress as part of the omnibus spending bill.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas and Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin both announced they were banning TikTok from government devices in late December.
“As Secretary of State, I have a heavy responsibility to protect voters’ personally identifiable information, which is why I have made the decision to ban the use of TikTok on all devices owned or leased by my agency,” Ardoin said in a letter to the Democratic Governor of Louisiana.
“I wholeheartedly believe that doing so statewide would protect our data and reaffirm our commitment to protecting the privacy of our constituents,” Ardoin continued.
Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly also announced the removal of TikTok from government devices saying, “To protect the privacy and security of Kansans, I have just issued an executive order to ban TikTok from public devices under my control. jurisdiction”.
“TikTok extracts user data and potentially gives it to the Chinese Communist Party – a threat recognized by a growing group of bipartisan leaders,” she concluded.
Gallagher concluded in his interview on Sunday that he wants to see the ban on TikTok extended nationwide.
Meanwhile, Democratic Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois has co-sponsored a bill to ban TikTok from operating in the United States. Krishnamoorthi tweeted“This bill would protect US users from malign foreign influence from adversaries such as the CCP, who have access to data held by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company.”
“We cannot turn a blind eye to this threat that apps like TikTok could pose,” he concluded.
Tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy said Newsweek Sunday, “I think banning it on government devices is a small first step, but I think there’s a good case for banning it for all kids under 16 – and maybe a ban national, full stop.”
Ramaswamy added, “There’s a reason the Chinese company that owns TikTok doesn’t offer this same product in China: it’s just another Trojan horse to advance the CCP’s agenda at the expense of the next generation of Americans.
Update 01/01/2023, 1:47 PM ET: This article has been updated to include Ramaswamy’s comment.