CCP-Linked TikTok’s Personnel Can Allegedly Access Politicians’ Private Networks: Report

TikTok and its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance’s personnel can allegedly view the private connections of a vast array of politicians, Forbes reported on Wednesday.

TikTok has a social graph tool that reveals connections of individuals including members of President Joe Biden’s family, governors, senators and state attorneys general, Forbes reported. Other social media companies have access to similar data but TikTok has fewer barriers for employees to view it and more personal information available for them to draw from, according to individuals who have worked for multiple tech firms who spoke to Forbes.

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TikTok Employees Raise Concern over CCP Influence as China Execs Move In

Some employees at the popular social media platform TikTok are concerned about the influence the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has on the company as executives from its parent, ByteDance, take on new positions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A number of high-level executives from ByteDance in China have taken on new roles at TikTok’s U.S. operation, with employees complaining internally that there may be greater CCP influence than what is being publicly disclosed, according to the WSJ. The China-based ByteDance is subject to CCP regulation and can be pressured by the government to hand over information that the company has collected, which has in the past raised concerns over whether American users of the app are having their data collected by the foreign government.

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TikTok’s CCP-Linked Parent Company Is Trying to Break into a Whole New Industry

ByteDance, the CCP-linked parent company of popular shortform video platform TikTok, is trying to enter the book publishing industry, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The company filed in late April for a U.S. trademark for a publishing firm, 8th Note Press, and has already begun reaching out to some independent authors for the rights to sell their books, the NYT reported. TikTok has helped some books become bestsellers in the past several years, posts using the #Booktok hashtag have been viewed more than 91 billion times and the combined sales of 100 authors with large BookTok followings eclipsed $760 million in 2022, a 60% surge from the year prior.

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Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher and His Committee Want Answers from TikTok on Popular App’s Latest Controversial Activities

It seems TikTok just can’t quit its creeping ways. 

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08), chairman of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party,  is seeking answers from the controversial video hosting site on allegations of ongoing censorship and monitoring of individuals, including those who view LGBTQ-related content on the platform. 

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TikTok’s Parent Company Allegedly Tracks Conversations About COVID-19 Lab Leak Theory: Report

Popular social media app TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance might be tracking online conversations about the COVID-19 lab leak theory, according to documents obtained by Forbes.

A ByteDance tool controlled by Chinese personnel monitors the use of “sensitive words” across company platforms, according to a Forbes investigation. Forbes accessed hundreds of ByteDance’s word lists and published them; they contain various categories including “science and medicine,” which is largely about China and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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TikTok Lobbyists Visited Biden White House at Least 40 Times Last Year

White House visitor records show that lobbyists and executives for the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok have visited the Biden White House at least 40 times in the past year.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the plethora of visits is part of the tech company’s broader plan for a massive public relations campaign aimed at rehabilitating its image, amid numerous setbacks including government bans on the app in various states and other countries. TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have already spent over $13 million on federal lobbying since 2019, having hired lobbying firms such as SKDK, a major Democratic public relations firm.

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Call to Ban TikTok on Personal Phones Gaining Momentum

About 30 states have placed restrictions on the social media app TikTok mostly related to government devices, but there is momentum for a larger ban on personal devices.

A growing number of lawmakers in the U.S. have raised national security concerns about the short-form video app because of TikTok’s ties to China through its parent company ByteDance.

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TikTok Not the Only China-Controlled App Thriving in America: Report

The top four downloaded applications in the past 30 days in the U.S. Apple App Store and Google Play Store are owned by Chinese-tied companies, according to data from Apptopia analyzed by Axios.

While these Chinese-tied apps are thriving in the U.S., American apps are typically not permitted to operate in China due to the country’s strict censorship, according to Axios. China has over one billion internet users according to Statista, so the U.S. is missing out on a massive market while China has exclusive access to it.

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FBI, DOJ Investigating TikTok Parent over Surveillance of Americans: Report

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are investigating Chinese company ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, for surveilling Americans, according to Forbes.

The DOJ Fraud Section and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia subpoenaed information from the company about its employees’ efforts to access the location and other private information of American journalists through TikTok, Forbes reported, citing an anonymous source. The FBI is conducting interviews on the same subject.

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Tennessee AG Skrmetti Leads 46 States to Demand China-Based TikTok Comply with Multistate Investigation

Forty-six attorneys general joined Tennessee in requesting that a state court force TikTok to comply with an ongoing multistate investigation into the platform’s impact on children.

Following TikTok’s failure to comply with a Request for Information (RFI) last week, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti filed a motion Monday to require the Chinese-owned social media company to preserve documents and internal messages, his office announced. Colorado and 45 other states also filed an amicus brief Monday in support of Skrmetti’s motion, arguing that TikTok’s failure to respond impedes “the State’s ability to protect their citizens.”

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European Union Commission Suspends TikTok Use on Work Devices

The European Union Commission on Thursday suspended the use of TikTok on work devices and EU employees’ personal devices that are used for work.

“This measure aims to protect the Commission against cybersecurity threats and actions which may be exploited for cyber-attacks against the corporate environment of the Commission,” the agency said.

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Wisconsin Congressman Sponsoring TikTok Ban Pleased to See Senate Effort Is Now Bipartisan

U.S. Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8) this weekend expressed heightened optimism about the prospect of banning all American use of the video-sharing application TikTok after the Senate version of his bill to do so gained bipartisan support. 

Last week, Senator Angus King, an independent who is a member of his chamber’s Democratic Caucus, joined Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in cosponsoring the legislation, known as the Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act (ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act). The measure has enjoyed bipartisan backing in the House of Representatives since its introduction in December, being cosponsored by Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8). 

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NFL Lures Millions to TikTok Despite Rising Security, Privacy Concerns About the Chinese Platform

The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles face off Sunday in the Super Bowl, but their competition extends beyond the gridiron to the social media stage, where the two teams are vying, along with the NFL’s other 30 franchises, for followers and engagement on TikTok, the controversial video-sharing app that reportedly has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Although spy balloons are currently dominating the headlines, the wildly popular TikTok appears to be China’s premier Trojan Horse.

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Wisconsin and Illinois Congressmen Urges ESPN to End TikTok Relationship

U.S. Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8) sent a letter this week to the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) opposing its decision to let TikTok run commercials during recent college football halftime shows. 

The two congressmen are sponsors of a measure to ban the video-sharing application from all Americans’ computing devices. Gallagher and other Republican members of Wisconsin’s U.S. House delegation this month successfully encouraged Democratic Governor Tony Evers to prohibit the app’s download or use on any state-owned computers or phones. Numerous other state governments as well as the federal government no longer permit the program’s download or use by public entities. 

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Despite Voting to Ban on Government Devices, Some U.S. Lawmakers Still Using TikTok

Some lawmakers are active on TikTok even after concerns about the social media platform’s surveillance capabilities prompted Congress to ban it on some federal devices in December.

The bipartisan omnibus spending bill passed on Dec. 23 prohibits TikTok on executive branch mobile devices, with limited carveouts for national security, law enforcement and research purposes. However, Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Jamaal Bowman of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan appear to be active on the platform, their accounts show, despite voting yes or “present” for the bill.

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Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia Among 18 States Banning Social Media App TikTok from State Devices

Following South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem’s lead, nearly half of U.S. states have put restrictions on or banned the use of Chinese-based social media app TikTok.

At least 19 states have banned TikTok on government-issued devices – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utha, Virginia and West Virginia.

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Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty: State Government Should Ban TikTok

A Milwaukee-based think tank is weighing in on the Wisconsin state government’s social media policy, urging Governor Tony Evers (D) to ban the video-sharing application’s use by state agencies. 

In a report called “The Mysterious TikTok-ing Noise,” the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) notes that numerous other governors earlier this month signed orders instructing all departments under their control to delete the program from their devices. The piece also observed the unanimous vote taken last week by the U.S. Senate to adopt the same policy for all federal computer hardware. 

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ByteDance Confirms Using TikTok to Monitor Journalists

An internal investigation from TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has confirmed that its employees used the social media app to track the physical locations of several journalists.

The investigation revealed that several employees had worked to uncover the source of internal leaks and in so doing had used the app to obtain the IP addresses and user data of journalists to determine their physical proximity to any ByteDance employees, according to Forbes.

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Wisconsin’s Gallagher and Illinois’s Krishnamoorthi File Bipartisan TikTok Ban Legislation

A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers this week filed legislation in the House of Representatives to ban the TikTok video-sharing application nationwide. 

Congressmen Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8) submitted their bill in the House of Representatives while Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced companion legislation in his chamber. They call their measure the Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act (ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act). It is written broadly enough to possibly prohibit use of other platforms operating under the influence of “a country of concern” such as China or Russia. 

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Wisconsin Congressman Gallagher: Nationwide TikTok Ban to Be Introduced This Month

U.S. Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8) this week touted an emerging effort in both houses of Congress to ban the video-sharing application TikTok nationwide. 

Gallagher and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) penned an opinion piece for The Washington Post last month insisting Americans should not have access to the app. In a discussion with WISN CHANNEL 12 on Monday, Gallagher said he will introduce bipartisan legislation to that effect this month and he anticipates it will get a vote early next year. 

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Commentary: TikTok Needs to Be Destroyed

Twitter was a huge lie, but it was fun. Maybe it’s like television. Elon Musk is having a blast unveiling the conservative-hiding, progressive-promoting plot that was rising up in the complex engineering behind the little blue bird, which leads me to believe that the lovable little critter was actually a big monster. That liberals are outraged by the revelations only proves one thing: cancellation is their erotic dream and their nightmare is freedom. They already enjoyed the former too much. Now, it’s time for the latter.

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Wisconsin Republican Members of Congress Ask Evers to Pull Government TikTok

Republican members of Congress from Wisconsin this week called on Democratic Governor Tony Evers to end all state-government usage of the video-sharing application known as TikTok. 

The app, which has garnered about 80 million monthly active users since its release in 2016, is run by the Chinese technology corporation ByteDance. Recent reporting indicates the communist Chinese government is using the program to mine data from TikTok users aggressively and track some Americans’ whereabouts. 

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Chinese-Owned TikTok Using DHS Programs to Bring Foreign Workers to U.S.

ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the video platform TikTok, is increasingly bringing foreign nationals to work in the U.S. through foreign worker programs overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

This year alone, ByteDance was employing 579 foreign workers through the H-1B program, an increase from previous years, wrote Jon Feere, the center’s director of investigations, in a new report.

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FCC Member: ‘TikTok Is China’s Digital Fentanyl’

Federal Communications Commission member Brendan Carr said that TikTok is “China’s digital fentanyl” and that the social media platform is “a very sophisticated surveillance app.”

“At the end of the day, TikTok is China’s digital fentanyl,” Carr, a Republican and one of five FCC commissioners, said Friday on Fox News.

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White House Defends TikTok Outreach Amid Bipartisan Security Concerns

On August 9, 2021, Benito Skinner, the Millennial Generation comedian known online as “Benny Drama,” posted a video on TikTok of his day-in-the-life experience as a White House intern, photocopying, making unrequested nail appointments for then-Press Secretary Jen Psaki, and generally making a mess.

All of it was for laughs, but there was a reason the Biden administration invited him into the West Wing. They wanted Millennials and members of Gen Z to hear a public health message from the TikTok influencer: “We need to get shots in the arms of every single American.”

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TikTok’s Ties to Chinese Propaganda Machine Revealed

Three hundred employees at the parent company of ubiquitous social media app TikTok list Chinese state media outlets in their employment histories, a Forbes investigation of public LinkedIn profile information revealed Thursday.

The investigation may reveal Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ties to ByteDance, a Chinese technology company that operates several popular social media apps, through Chinese media organizations that generate CCP propaganda, according to Forbes. The profiles include 23 current directors of ByteDance responsible for “content partnerships, public affairs, corporate social responsibility and media cooperation,” and 15 who may still hold employment status with certain Chinese state-run media outlets, though it’s possible that the LinkedIn profiles were not updated after a change of job status.

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TikTok Parent Company Limits Screen Time for Chinese Kids to 40 Minutes Per Day

TikTok maker ByteDance announced Saturday it was limiting screen time for Chinese users under 14 years old.

The Chinese version of video sharing platform TikTok, called “Douyin,” unveiled a new “youth mode” feature that limits the use of its app for children under 14 to 40 minutes a day, its parent company ByteDance announced Saturday. The app will also be unavailable for children between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., ByteDance said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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