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Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

House Republicans seek end to cartel TikTok activity

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Rep. John Katko (R-NY) led this week a group of House colleagues in encouraging the social media platform TikTok to address cartel activity amid an escalating crisis on the southwest border.

“We are deeply troubled by media reports that cartels are brazenly recruiting people to conduct smuggling and other illicit activity via TikTok,” Katko, ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, wrote along with 29 House Republicans in correspondence to TikTok CEO Shouzi Chew. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) faces mounting challenges associated with stemming the flow of irregular migration into the country, and the recruitment and advertisement of smuggling activity on these platforms is exacerbating an increasingly untenable situation for frontline law enforcement personnel, as well as the vulnerable migrant populations being exploited, during a pandemic.”

The lawmakers indicated TikTok should be able to cease the activity from occurring on the platform – requesting written information regarding TikTok’s capabilities and efforts to combat illicit activity perpetuated by Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs).

“Separately, we are seriously concerned about a post identified by law enforcement that we’ve reviewed in which an armed cartel member was stalking and threatening Border Patrol Agents,” the legislators concluded. “It appears that via your platform, cartel members are openly glorifying and normalizing illegal behavior and violence to recruit new members, most recently American teenagers. All of these activities are in direct violation of TikTok’s Terms of Service.”