Rep. John Katko asks TikTok to crack down on drug cartels

FILE – This Sept. 28, 2020 file photo, shows a view of the TikTok app logo, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

With Mexican drug cartels using TikTok to recruit smugglers and threaten Border Patrol agents, U.S. Rep. John Katko hopes the social media platform will intervene. 

Katko, R-Camillus, and 29 House Republicans sent a letter to TikTok CEO Shouzi Chew urging him to take action against the cartels using the popular video-sharing service to recruit people, including teenagers in the U.S., for smuggling operations and other crimes. 

“The Department of Homeland Security 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,” Katko and his colleagues wrote. 

In the letter to Chew, the members of Congress also expressed concern about a video posted on the platform that was flagged by law enforcement. The video, which the members reviewed, shows an armed member of a drug cartel threatening Border Patrol agents. 

The members told Chew that cartel members are “openly glorifying and normalizing illegal behavior and violence to recruit new members, most recently American teenagers.” They added that the conduct is in violation of TikTok’s terms of service. 

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