Antisemitic TikTok content the latest ‘digital fentanyl’ from China, Republican lawmaker says
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who has called TikTok “digital fentanyl” sponsored by China, called out the malign antisemitic content being reported on the CCP-connected app.
Gallagher told “The Story” Thursday that the new disturbing trend should be a wake-up call to Congress, which has seen efforts to rein in or force the sale of TikTok to a non-Chinese entity stalled.
“The hate we’re seeing spewed against Jewish Americans on TikTok should remind us of the basic facts: And the fact is that this app, which increasingly young Americans get their news from this app, this is the source of news and could become the dominant news platform in America, is controlled by a Chinese company that is at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.
“And if you don’t think the Chinese Communist Party could or would weaponize that platform to spread anti-American propaganda, to divide Americans against Americans, to increase division in this country, then you’re not paying attention to what they’ve been doing all around the world.”
At least one Jewish social media influencer has demanded action from social media companies on this front, claiming there is indeed a surge of antisemitism on TikTok since the Hamas invasion of Israel.
Eitan Bernath said TikTok and other platforms have seen the disturbing trend increase in recent days, while underlining that there is a fine but recognizable difference between content that presents a politically opposite view of the conflict and content that is openly antisemitic.
Bernath said several other Jewish influencers and Hollywood figures like Judy Gold and Amy Schumer have signed an open letter to TikTok, which in part alleged the “platform is not safe for Jewish users.”
“This is not just about like our feelings aren’t hurt. We’re not upset that people don’t like Jews and don’t like us. We are concerned and validly concerned for our digital safety and our physical safety. You know, people have gotten their phone numbers doxxed, their family members doxxed, their addresses doxxed… People have been receiving – like myself – death threats,” he added.
In response to an inquiry from “America Reports,” TikTok said they’ve taken “important steps to protect our community and prevent the spread of hate, and we appreciate ongoing, honest dialog and feedback as we continually work to strengthen these protections.”
The trend on social media has also drawn the attention of other top lawmakers.
Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn said it wouldn’t be surprising that TikTok is “pushing pro-Hamas content,” according to NBC News.
Gallagher later reacted on FOX News to the growing divide in the Democratic Party over the Hamas-Israel invasion, saying that President Biden’s rhetoric on the conflict has been appropriate, but that the left must be cautious about letting its more radical wing speak out or demonstrate in support of Hamas.
“If what we’re seeing on college campuses suddenly spills out into the mainstream here in Capitol Hill, then that’s a huge problem. So I hope that the president will continue his steadfast support of Israel,” he said.
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