GOP Congressman refers to TikTok as “digital Fentanyl”

Tech

Published: 2023-01-03 16:01

Last Updated: 2024-05-25 17:49


GOP Congressman refers to TikTok as “digital Fentanyl”
GOP Congressman refers to TikTok as “digital Fentanyl”

A member of the Republican Party, also known as the Grand Old Party (GOP), and representative for Wisconsin's 8th congressional district, Mike Gallagher, drew an analogy likening the social media application TikTok to the addictive drug "Fentanyl."

This came in an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday.

Gallagher says the short-form video hosting service, which he believes should be banned in the United States, is “highly addictive and destructive and we’re seeing troubling data about the corrosive impact of constant social media use, particularly on young men and women here in America.” He expressed his concern further saying that the application “effectively goes back to the Chinese Communist Party,” as reported by CNN.

The American government will ban TikTok from all federal devices according to legislation included in the USD 1.7 trillion omnibus bills signed by current US President, Joe Biden. Notably, TikTok has already been banned from devices of the United States House of Representatives, based on an internal notice circulated among internal staff.

In response, TikTok released a statement saying there is “zero truth” to Gallagher’s comments. It continued to explain that “the Chinese Communist Party has neither direct nor indirect control of ByteDance or TikTok.”

The statement explained that “ByteDance is a private, global company, nearly 60 percent of which is owned by global institutional investors, with the rest owned primarily by the company’s founders and its employees — including thousands of Americans.”

US officials have previously referred to TikTok as a potential risk to the country’s national security. Critics have even expressed concern that data from TikTok related to American citizens could be shared with the authorities in China. Security experts have also spoken about how such information could allow China to attempt to influence American citizens through disinformation efforts or pinpoint intelligence opportunities in the US.

TikTok, which is arguably too big to ban at this point, has been in negotiations with the US government since 2020 in an effort to address security concerns in order to ensure that the application remains available in America. The potential agreement is currently under review.