The American public needs to know how egregious of a threat the Chinese-owned TikTok app poses to our nation’s social fabric, the director of the Tech Policy Center at The Heritage Foundation says.
In a conversation Tuesday with Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts on “The Kevin Roberts Show” podcast, Kara Frederick discussed what TikTok’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party mean for the everyday American ahead of the TikTok CEO’s appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday.
“It’s extremely problematic, because that parent company, ByteDance, headquartered in Beijing, is subject to the People’s Republic of China laws and policies,” Frederick said.
Almost 70% of American teenagers use TikTok. Though the content teenagers scroll through masquerades as harmless short videos, many of the videos contain content fueling self-harm, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, and more, Frederick said.
“It’d be bad enough if China weren’t involved,” Roberts said. “The fact that China is involved makes it that much worse.”
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will be asked to answer some tough questions in the House hearing on Thursday, Frederick said, noting that TikTok’s PR strategies have attempted to downplay the platform’s relationship with China.
“We can talk all day about the noxious content on these platforms,” Frederick said. “But when China can actually have a mapping of the patterns of life and a network of Americans, especially these young children, then you have a hard security problem, as well as the cognitive ones.”
Frederick hopes the hearing shows everyday Americans that TikTok is a perfidious enemy.
“If Americans, in watching this, can emerge with the knowledge that this platform is essentially under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party, ByteDance, I think that’s a win,” she said. “If they can communicate to their children that this is not just harmful to us, this is not just something that you do for fun, this is an adversary competitor, an actual enemy trying to get your information and preventing you from doing what you want to do with a child in the future anyway, because of the blackmail potential, the espionage potential.”
As a new mother, Frederick said she worries about how TikTok is changing the social fabric of our nation and hurting children, especially young girls. She said parents need to be on board with opposing TikTok.
“We are going to lose the next generation of citizens if they are captured by these platforms,” she said.
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