China’s Communist Regime Takes Financial Stake in TikTok: Report

August 17th, 2021 6:15 PM

The Chinese Communist government has reportedly taken a stake and board seat in ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company.

On April 30, ByteDance sold a one percent stake to WangTouZhongWen Technology, a Beijing company owned by three state entities in China, according to Reuters.

The deal also reportedly allows the Chinese government to appoint a board director to ByteDance.

Actor Ashton Kutcher recently expressed concerns that China is using TikTok to influence the beliefs of American teens.

Kutcher warned that China uses TikTok to create “an anti-US propaganda” and an “anti-Taiwanese propaganda effort.”

“If I’m China and I want to create a problem in that area of the world, specifically a Naval problem in the South China Sea, I would probably want to utilizeTikTok in order to influence the minds of Americans,” he said.

TikTok’s privacy policy currently allows the platform to share unlimited amounts of user data with ByteDance.

“We may share all of the information we collect with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group,” read TikTok’s policy. 

“They’ve collected ten of millions of pieces of data on Americans,” said Lewis. “This is big data. In the U.S. they use it for advertising ... in China, the state uses it for intelligence purposes,” Jim Lewis, senior vice president of the strategic technologies program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a foreign affairs think tank, told CNBC.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) reintroduced the No TikTok on Government Devices Act to ban the TikTok app from official federal devices.

Hawley said TikTok is “a Trojan horse for the Chinese Communist Party that has no place on government devices—or any American devices, for that matter” in a statement. He continued: “TikTok has repeatedly proven itself to be a malicious actor[,] but Joe Biden and Big Tech refuse to take the threat of Chinese espionage seriously. It’s time for Congress to act.”

Meanwhile, TikTok has downplayed its data sharing.

“We employ rigorous access controls and a strict approval process overseen by our U.S.-based leadership team, including technologies like encryption and security monitoring to safeguard sensitive user data,” a TikTok spokeswoman told CNBC at the time.

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