Incoming GOP China Committee Chair Calls TikTok ‘Digital Fentanyl’

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The Chinese video-sharing app TikTok is an addictive drug that the Chinese regime is offering to Americans, according to Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), the incoming chairman of a new House select committee on China.

“It’s 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,” Gallagher said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that aired on Jan. 1.

“It’s also digital fentanyl in the sense that, as you allude to, it ultimately goes back to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Gallagher further expressed concerns about the threat that the Chinese app, which has soared in popularity, would impose on U.S. users as he noted that the parent company of TikTok—Bytedance—is under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“I’m concerned about TikTok’s ability to track your location, track your keystrokes, track what websites you’re visiting, even when you’re not using the app,” he said.

This collected information would help the Chinese regime in “effectively compiling dossiers filled with our data.

“I’m concerned about the lack of transparency around the algorithm, which is addicting kids,” he said.

Gallagher said TikTok is “incredibly dangerous” because it could act as a channel for malign influence operations.

“What’s most pernicious is the fact that since a lot of young men and women in America increasingly turn to TikTok to get news, what if they start censoring the news?” he said. “What if they start tweaking the algorithm to determine what the CCP deems fit to print?”

Gallagher says that such a scenario would be equivalent to the KGB or the Russian newspaper Pravda buying The New York Times and other major newspapers at the peak of the Cold War.

“That’s incredibly dangerous. That’s as if, in 1958, we allowed the KGB and Pravda to buy The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Post,” he said. “That actually probably understates the threat. I think it’s a multipronged threat we need to look at.

“We have to ask whether we want the CCP to control what is on the cusp of becoming the most powerful media company in America.”

By Hannah Ng

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