TikTok: Back in the Surveillance Spotlight?

December 6, 2022

In western countries, especially the United States, TikTok is a platform showcasing the worst of its citizens. It also encourages poor behavior due to mob mentality/crowd psychology. Did you know that China owns TikTok and uses it to collect data on US citizens? It is probably manipulating algorithms to show Americans the worst of the worst as well. The FBI is finally catching on that TikTok is not a benign social media platform, but it is probably too little too late.

CNBC wrote that, “FBI Is ‘Extremely Concerned’ About China’s Influence Through TikTok On US Users.” FBI Director Christopher Wray warned US lawmakers about the potential threat TikTok poses:

“ ‘We do have national security concerns at least from the FBI’s end about TikTok,’ Wray told members of the House Homeland Security Committee in a hearing about worldwide threats. ‘They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users. Or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose. Or to control software on millions of devices, which gives it opportunity to potentially technically compromise personal devices.’”

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance denies any bad actions and condemns anyone who claims TikTok is anything more than a short video-sharing platform. The Hill has a similar take on the same story “FBI Head: China Has ‘Stolen More’ US Data ‘Than Every Other Nation Combined’” and uses the same quote from Wray but includes an additional one:

“There are still unresolved questions about data sharing between Chinese companies and the government in Beijing, said Wray, adding that ‘there’s a number of concerns there as to what is actually happening and actually being done.’”

What is interesting about China is that it is one of the world’s oldest countries and its cultural mentality is different from than the West. China could be patiently playing the long game to subvert the US government with the help of its citizens. How? They systemically use TikTok to condition Americans’ attention spans to be shorter and influence bad behavior.

Why is the FBI only concerned now?

Whitney Grace, December 6, 2022

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