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Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 06:59 PM

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

First Published in 1994

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF
UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

Time’s Up TikTok

Times Up TikTok

The social media app TikTok quickly rose to fame during the pandemic lockdowns. With nowhere to go and little socialization, the newest video platform was ripe for people, especially youth, to connect with friends and find entertainment. TikTok’s boom has brought new fame and creative content, but it held a dirty little secret: it is really nothing more than spyware from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In 2020, President Donald Trump’s strict policies against Chinese involvement in U.S. affairs extended to TikTok. He issued an executive order prohibiting U.S. companies from engaging in business with ByteDance, Ltd., the Chinese company that owns TikTok. A full ban of TikTok on federal devices was also enacted. Lawsuits held up the process of implementation which allowed President Joe Biden to repeal the initiative one year later. Trump still believes that TikTok is a national security problem but is concerned that if the platform were to disappear, it would send more users over to Facebook and Instagram which have had their own wealth of corrupt issues.

The consequences of a sale or ban of TikTok far outweigh the bad. A study from the National Contagion Research Institute studied the suppression of certain Chinese-related content and found that topics that were in opposition to the Chinese Government’s views were significantly suppressed. Instead, pro-Palestinian and pro-Russia content has risen to the top. With 32% of Gen Zers claiming to get their news regularly from TikTok, this is a major problem for the future of our country.

In a Fox News article, Former Vice President Mike Pence called TikTok “digital fentanyl” and a “21st-century technological weapon.” The app is mining data on our youth and using that information to create addictive algorithms. Social media in general has caused great harm to our youngest generation. From body image issues to online predators, these platforms open many doors for users to take advantage of vulnerable minds. With teen girls largely surpassing boys in TikTok use, it’s no coincidence that there is a sharp increase in girls seeking to mutilate their healthy bodies to “change their gender”, many later regretting the coercion they experienced on the app.

Peter Schweizer, author of the new book, Blood Money, described the issue this way on the Ben Shapiro podcast:

Here’s the bottom line. We’re having this debate in this country is TikTok a threat is it not? There’s no debate in China . . . They view this in their words as a ‘Trojan horse’ that they’re using against the West. They talk about how they use it to change the views and attitudes and belief systems of young people in the West, by appealing to emotion, giving a young person sense of “righteous indignation.” . . . The notion that ByteDance is just kind of a Chinese company that happens to be in a communist country is ridiculous. This is the same company that is doing joint research on how to manipulate people online with the Chinese Ministry of State Security. It does not get any closer or more clearcut than that.

Simply banning certain content on TikTok would violate free speech under the First Amendment. However, Congress has found a way to protect the Constitutional rights of users while protecting our national security. The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act (H.R. 7521) does not ban the entire app nor the content shared by users. It forces the sale of any social media apps owned and controlled by those who wish to do us harm, namely those countries listed as foreign adversaries of the United States. This legislation passed the House with wide bipartisan support with a vote of 352-65. Chairman of the House Select Committee on the CCP Mike Gallagher (R-WI) stated in a press release:

This is my message to TikTok: break up with the Chinese Communist Party or lose access to your American users. America’s foremost adversary has no business controlling a dominant media platform in the United States. TikTok’s time in the United States is over unless it ends its relationship with CCP-controlled ByteDance.

Eagle Forum has informed House members of our support of H.R. 7521 and will include the vote in our Congressional Scorecard. We cannot afford to lose our freedoms and the minds of our young generations to a social media app that is owned and controlled by a foreign adversary. This is an issue of conduct of our enemy and not of content of speech.