No, this is not a joke. Try it yourself. Try to sign up for TikTok with your Twitter account. Twitter basically lets TikTok make your account part of a TikTok twitter botnet. Don’t be surprised if your twitter account starts reporting tweets that mention Winnie the Pooh. It is stunning the permissions that Twitter grants to the social media company, as evidence grows the company is being used as an influence machine for the Chinese state. Maybe it is just because Twitter feels a special kinship to TikTok They both refuse to license music.
As Foreign Policy magazine noted a year ago:
“ByteDance has already been repeatedly forced to bend the knee to party authority at home. Most punishingly, in April 2018 the government compelled ByteDance to shut down its popular “Neihan Duanzi” (“inside jokes”) app for good due to its “vulgar” content. In response, Zhang issued a letter of self-criticism where he said, “Our product took the wrong path, and content appeared that was incommensurate with socialist core values.” He also promised that the firm would in the future “Further deepen cooperation with authoritative [official party] media, elevating distribution of authoritative media content, ensuring that authoritative [official party] media voices are broadcast to strength.”
Around that same time CNN Business reported:
“After getting rapped over the knuckles for promoting what authorities called “vulgar content” on its popular video and news apps in April, ByteDance announced it would hire 2,000 more people to review content. The job ads noted that party members and candidates with “strong political sensitivity” would be preferred.”
Then at the end of September The Guardian in the UK reported on a leaked content moderation memo:
“TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned social network, instructs its moderators to censor videos that mention Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, or the banned religious group Falun Gong, according to leaked documents detailing the site’s moderation guidelines.”
What’s going on here? I don’t know about you, but maybe congress should give Jack Dorsey an invitation to come in and explain why he’s turning over US citizen’s twitter accounts to a Chinese company with deep ties to the Chinese government. First question: How many Twitter accounts has TikTok been given access to?