A new study by Forbes shows what many in Washington have known or suspected for some time — that wildly popular social media platform TikTok is closely tied to the Communist Chinese government and state media.
Three hundred workers employed by TikTok and its parent ByteDance worked for China’s state media in the past. Even more, the study uncovered that at least 15 current ByteDance employees are also employed at the same time by the communist propaganda machine.
It was former President Donald Trump who in 2020 signed an executive order that TikTok be banned. Of course, Democrats pushed back and the matter was tied up in court.
The Biden administration did the political equivalent of kicking the can down the road when the president said a “rigorous, evidence-based analysis” of the threat should be conducted. In other words, form a committee to ensure nothing productive gets done.
The difference between the two administration’s approaches to the exact same security issue is striking.
Even the British Parliament got nervous just days after launching its own TikTok account. With security concerns that it was an open door for Chinese intelligence agents to walk through, it was quickly closed.
Britain’s parliament has killed its own TikTok account merely days after it was launched over fears the platform leaks data to China. https://t.co/tPSijN1GYg
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) August 8, 2022
Is there any doubt that disinformation is streaming through the social media platform around the world? Chinese propaganda is amplified through the security-challenged app, and both the current and former administrations knew it. And it does not label accounts controlled by state media.
Now comes evidence that the links are not even subtle.
BuzzFeed News in June reported that ByteDance employees in China accessed sensitive private information from American users of the platform. It noted an outside consultant who believed that there is a backdoor to user data, the same charge made by the Trump administration.
The company defends itself by saying it hires qualified professionals from all types of backgrounds — including Chinese state media.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to “study” the issue using fact-based analysis. What is obvious to the rest of the world is met with oblivion by the White House, but that’s nothing new.