TikTok compared to a ‘highly addictive and destructive’ drug due to its ‘caustic effect’



A senior US congressman likened TikTok to the addictive drug fentanyl, calling for the Chinese app to be banned in the US.

In a Sunday interview with NBC, Mike Gallagher, Republican and future chairman of the new House Select Committee on China, called TikTok “digital fentanyl” because “it’s highly addictive and destructive, and we’re seeing worrying data about the corrosive impact of constant social media use.” “.

He claimed that the app “actually goes back to the Communist Party of China”, adding to the constant accusations from US politicians about data security.

TikTok, whose parent company is Chinese tech firm ByteDance, was banned from US federal government devices last month under a massive new spending bill signed by US President Joe Biden.

Both sides of the House of Representatives have long expressed concern that Beijing is using the app to spy on Americans or manipulate its algorithm to promote the Chinese government’s narrative.

The company has denied all allegations, but one of its fiercest critics is Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, who said in December that the popular app could pose an unprecedented threat to US security.

In a statement, the company said Mr Gallagher’s comments contained “zero truth”.

“The Communist Party of China has neither direct nor indirect control over ByteDance or TikTok,” the company said.

“ByteDance is a private, global company with nearly 60 percent owned by global institutional investors and the rest owned primarily by the company’s founders and employees – including thousands of Americans.”

TikTok, which has moved to the forefront of internet culture with its viral video hits, has 80 million monthly active users in the United States and a billion active users worldwide.

But Mr Gallagher is not alone in advocating a sweeping national ban.

In December, Republican Senator Marco Rubio announced bipartisan legislation banning TikTok in a bill that would block all transactions from any social media company in or influenced by China and Russia.

“It is troubling that instead of encouraging the administration to end the TikTok national security review, some members of Congress have chosen to push for a politically motivated ban that will not contribute to the national security of the United States,” said one member of Congress. TikTok spokesperson in response.

As of 2020, TikTok has been negotiating a potential deal with the US government to address national security issues.

TikTok said the potential deal under review covers “key concerns about corporate governance, content recommendation and moderation, and data security and access.”

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