Texas Governor Greg Abbott has allegedly claimed that Mexican drug cartels are using TikTok as a platform to recruit smugglers from the United States. He also added that TikTok was promoting human trafficking in Texas and criticized the Biden administration's response to the whole situation.
In a border security briefing that occurred at Weslaco, Hidalgo Country, Texas, Abbott said:
"Cartels in Mexico are using TikTok to advertise, to recruit smugglers in Texas, in San Antonio, Houston, and other cities in Texas and maybe some other states, to advertise for smugglers, for pay, for them to smuggle people here in Texas, which would include victims of human trafficking.."
He further added that TikTok should be ashamed, condemned, and have legal action brought against it for promoting human trafficking in Texas and the United States of America.
Videos about drug trafficking groups and their activities rack hundreds of thousands of views on platforms like TikTok, the likes of which are termed 'Cartel TikTok'. Tiger cubs, semiautomatic weapons, piles of cash, armored cash, and fields of poppies are just some of the things that come under this genre of TikTok, glorifying the Mexican drug culture.
The cartel content began flooding the U.S. feeds after a clip of a high-speed boat chase went viral on TikTok. As soon as people started liking and sharing that clip, there were served with similar videos.
As a response to this, a TikTok spokesperson told the New York Times that the company was "committed to working with law enforcement to combat organized criminal activity."
This is not the first time a member of the Republican Party has portrayed TikTok as the devil. Back in January 2019, former President Donald Trump signed an order banning transactions with TikTok and its parent company ByteDance using an executive order as it was a matter of "national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States". The order was eventually revoked by the Biden administration.