A Chinese government public relations entity reportedly tried to open a “stealth” TikTok account to target Western audiences with propaganda.
A 2020 internal message to Elizabeth Kanter, TikTok’s head of government relations for the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Israel, reportedly flagged a “Chinese government entity that’s interested in joining TikTok but would not want to be openly seen as a government account as the main purpose is for promoting content that showcase the best side of China (some sort of propaganda),” according to a recent report by Bloomberg.
The implication of this report is that a Chinese government entity attempted to open an account surreptitiously to spread pro-CCP propaganda on TikTok. TikTok’s parent company is Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-tied ByteDance, whose employees have direct access to U.S. TikTok user data.
The request ultimately received pushback from ByteDance’s senior government relations team, and a TikTok spokeswoman subsequently tried to downplay the gravity of the request, according to Bloomberg. TikTok does not allow “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” the spokeswoman added.
TikTok allows and verifies some CCP government accounts, including the Chinese Embassy in the U.S., Bloomberg noted. The TikTok spokeswoman reportedly said that the platform was moving to expand its “state-controlled media policy.”
ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, has shown a commitment to CCP propaganda. Former ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming said that he wanted to use his platform to “promote socialist core values” and devotion to the CCP, according to The National Pulse.
The TikTok plot is even more alarming in light of the CCP’s recently increased hostility against America. Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly told President Joe Biden during a phone call Thursday, “Those who play with fire will perish.”
On the same day, CCP state media outlet Global Times tweeted an article threatening “the use of military force” against the U.S., if the U.S. tries to stop China from seizing Taiwan. The tweet, which also threatens “military” action, remains uncensored on Twitter as of the publication of this article.
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