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Tags: mike gallagher | tiktok | china | ccp | misinformation

Rep. Gallagher: 'Digital Fentanyl' TikTok Should Be Banned Nationally


By    |   Sunday, 01 January 2023 01:41 PM EST

The video social media site TikTok, which has been described as "digital fentanyl" because of its addictive nature, is dangerous not only because of its parent company's links to the Chinese Communist Party, but because of its ability to spread misinformation and gather data, and should be banned nationally as well as on government devices, Rep. Mike Gallagher said Sunday.

"TikTok is owned by ByteDance; ByteDance is effectively controlled by the CCP, so 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," the Wisconsin Republican told NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd. "That is very troubling, so I was glad to see my colleagues in the Senate pass, in unanimous fashion, a ban on TikTok on government devices. I think we should do the same in the House and expand that ban nationally."

He said he agrees with the digital fentanyl tag, originally coined by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr because TikTok is dangerous as well as addictive.

TikTok said in a statement to NBC that the company's object is to "unite" people through content, not "divide with misinformation," but Gallagher said his concern is more about the Chinese government and its access to Americans' data.

He agreed that was a problem before TikTok's existence, but now, he's concerned about its "ability to track your location, track your keystrokes, track what websites you're visiting, even when you're not using the app" and about the algorithm that is "addicting kids."

But, Gallagher added that many young men and women are using TikTok as a news source.

"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? 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. That probably understates the threat. I think it's a multi-pronged threat we need to look at."

One acceptable outcome, which Gallagher has presented in a bipartisan bill with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., would be to allow TikTok to be bought by an American company, an option that was explored by former President Donald Trump's administration.

However, there should not be a solution that would allow a data center in Singapore under the control of the CCP and ByteDance, he said.

"I'm open to having that discussion with TikTok, and I really want to have that discussion with the Biden administration," said Gallagher. "I don't think this should be a partisan issue. I want to work with them, and I think the Senate vote that we were talking about earlier is evidence that this isn't a partisan issue."

Gallagher also on Sunday said there are concerns about Russia's investments in Telegram and the Saudi government's investment in Twitter, as "both of those are part is where we see authoritarian governments exploiting technology to exert total control over their citizens," which is a concern with the CCP.

Meanwhile, there must be more transparency concerning social media companies' algorithms, said Gallagher, who is also concerned that repealing Section 230, which provides immunity for website platforms concerning third-party content, would increase censorship.

"One thing that we don't really think about is these complicated user agreements that we all just click automatically," said Gallagher. "But we in Congress should do a better job of understanding that and translating that and communicating it to the American public and our constituents in a way that they understand."

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The video social media site TikTok, which has been described as "digital fentanyl" because of its addictive nature should be banned nationally as well as on government devices.
mike gallagher, tiktok, china, ccp, misinformation
Sunday, 01 January 2023 01:41 PM
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