Congressman Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican, said that TikTok is “digital fentanyl” and commended his Senate colleagues for passing the Chinese social media platform’s ban on government devices.
Gallagher spoke to NBC’s Meet the press on Sunday, saying: “I think the comparison is apt for at least two reasons. First, it’s highly addictive and destructive, and we’re seeing disturbing data on the corrosive effects of constant use of social media, particularly on young men and women here in America.”
“It’s also digital fentanyl in the sense that, as you allude, it ultimately goes back 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 to control what is on the cusp of becoming America’s most powerful media company,” the congressman said.
TikTok has topped both Democrats and Republicans recently as lawmakers banned the social media app from government devices. President Joe Biden on Thursday signed legislation banning use of the app on federal government devices, which Congress passed as part of the Omnibus Spending Act.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin both announced in late December that they will ban TikTok from government devices.
“As Secretary of State, I have a serious responsibility to protect voters’ personal information, which is why I have taken the step to ban the use of TikTok on any devices owned or leased by my agency,” Ardoin said in a letter to Louisiana’s Democratic governor.
“I wholeheartedly believe that at a national level, this would protect our data and reaffirm our commitment to protecting the privacy of our constituents,” continued Ardoin.
Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly also announced plans to remove TikTok from government devices, saying, “To protect the privacy and security of the Kansans, I just issued an executive order to remove TikTok on state devices under my jurisdiction to forbid.”
“TikTok is mining user data and potentially sharing it with 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 expand the TikTok ban nationwide.
Meanwhile, Democratic MP Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois has co-sponsored a bill to ban TikTok from operating in the US Krishnamoorthi tweeted“This law would protect American users from malicious foreign influence from opponents like the CCP who have access to the data of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company.”
“We cannot ignore this threat that apps like TikTok could pose,” he concluded.
Tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy tells news week on Sunday: “I think the ban on government devices is a small first step, but I think there’s a good case for banning it for all children under the age of 16 — and possibly a nationwide ban, period.”
Ramaswamy added, “There’s a reason the Chinese company that owns TikTok doesn’t offer the 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 1/1/2023 1:47 PM ET: This article has been updated to include comments from Ramaswamy.
https://www.newsweek.com/congressman-warns-tiktok-digital-fentanyl-these-two-reasons-1770638 Congressman warns TikTok is “digital fentanyl” for these two reasons