“Is TikTok Destroying Civilization?” Elon Musk tweeted June 17. “Or maybe social media in general.” Hyperbola? Maybe, but maybe not considering new revelations about TikTok’s reported data sharing with China.
BuzzFeed News reported the same day as Musk’s tweet that he had reviewed recordings of TikTok employees making statements indicating that its parent company, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-linked ByteDance, had accessed undisclosed data. public from US TikTok users. “Everything shows in China,” a member of TikTok’s Trust and Safety department said during a meeting in September 2021, according to BuzzFeed.
Multiple meeting recordings showed TikTok employees discussing the difficulties of shutting down some data access, BuzzFeed wrote, and TikTok’s US technical services team reports directly to a Beijing ByteDance office. And even TikTok’s new data security plan with Oracle would only apply to non-public TikTok data, BuzzFeed said, citing seven records. ByteDance employees would apparently still be able to access public user data.
BuzzFeed noted that ByteDance employees’ access to TikTok data and some TikTok employees reporting to a ByteDance office could allow the CCP to influence TikTok content to be pro-CCP.
ByteDance, like all Chinese companies, is under the control of the genocidal CCP. The CCP even has a seat on ByteDance’s board of directors and a financial stake in the company. Beijing’s ByteDance office may continue to be able to access public data from US TikTok users, BuzzFeed wrote.
Against this backdrop, TikTok’s repeated claims that US user data was protected from Chinese access rang hollow to many, including former President Donald Trump. Trump’s executive order targeting TikTok is justified in light of the new tapes, BuzzFeed reported.
TikTok has repeatedly claimed that it stores US user data in the United States, with backups in Singapore. But that doesn’t address the fact that ByteDance employees have access to the data. TikTok just announced that “100% of US user traffic is routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.” TikTok added: “We are still using our US and Singaporean data centers for backup, but as we continue our work, we plan to remove US users’ private data from our own data centers and switch entirely to the Oracle cloud servers located in the United States. The announcement is part of a larger project to steer certain data pipelines from the United States away from China, according to BuzzFeed.
ByteDance has shown a prior commitment to CCP propaganda. Former ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming said he wanted to use his platform to “promote core socialist values” and the CCP, according to The National Pulse.
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Post expires at 3:38am on Friday July 1st, 2022