During his trip to Russia on September 11, 2020, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi used Chinese-communist-slang on his press briefing: “[the United States’] arm is too long, and its responsibility is too wide” in speaking about the escalated contention between the two countries.
Just as Mr. Wang Yi spoke, the Communist party-controlled App, WeChat, Tiktok and alike are silently and speedily monitoring, stealing and sending American’s personal and business data, social and professional contacts and any information that might be useful for annexation to the West, to the Chinese communist regime.
U.S. has been increasingly ramping up its cyber security defense against communist China’s stealing intellectual property and business data. Starting from late 2019, the two countries’ harsh exchanges moved from back-door dialogs to the international podium.
On July 26, 2020, during his speech at Hudson Institute, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that the Chinese communist party’s threat is not just in the area of politics or the economy, but it reaches throughout the whole society of America. He noted: “If you’re an American adult, it is most likely that China has stolen your personal data.”
His conclusion is long overdue by the U.S. government, and the collection of American’s personal data and business information by the Chinese government is being carried through some of popular Apps since the Obama era.
WeChat found its door first through its own citizens. In a short time, the communist-party-driven App dominated the App market in China, and quickly became Chinese internet utility used by all Chinese. Following its citizens, overseas students, business associations, WeChat has been expanding its usage around the world, particularly in the U.S. WeChat’s English version has also been widely used by foreign governmental officials, business people, and anyone who might have Chinese friends.
Directed by the communist party in China, WeChat can monitor its users’ movement, from bathroom to toilet, from their office to coffeeshop, from text to video, in everywhere and everything. The App is utilized by the Party to patrol the message exchanges between its billions of users 24/7. Many apps from China, including WeChat have become ubiquitous and are needed in China to conduct business and survive. At the same time, those apps become the handy tools to track and silent those who think differently from the Chinese communist party.
WeChat’s design uses algorisms to enhance its addictiveness. The App has even become popular among Chinese seniors in their 70s, and expats living overseas. It has been steadily pushing the Chinese communist party’s propaganda, without delay, to its overseas subscribers.
When communists took over China in 1949, to alter Chinese people’s thoughts and thousand years of traditions, it strategized brainwashing campaigns through massive media and education to disseminate to the younger generations.
The invention of Tiktok might just be a result of business competition, but its newfound popularity among American teens has well served the Chinese community party in pushing its aims and manipulating foreign countries.
Estimated at 175 million downloads by American teenagers, Tiktok is able to secure influencers, such as Paris Hilton, whose notorious sex tape made her grandfather, Barron Hilton, change his will to give away 97% his fortune to charity instead of his children. Many teenagers have made quick fame and profit using TikTok.
Being registered in the U.S. , owned by Chinese company ByteDance in China, Tiktok has opened a channel to funnel information from U.S. citizens to the Chinese communist regime. In November 2019, the U.S. government opened an investigation into Tiktok, alleging its harm to American citizens and national security.
On May 11, 2020, a group of parents took Tiktok to court. As reported by NPR, dozens of parents, accused the video-sharing app of collecting their children’s information and sending their personal data to China.
“Such information reveals TikTok users’ precise physical location, including possibly indoor locations within buildings, and TikTok users’ apps that possibly reveal mental or physical health, religious views, political views, and sexual orientation,” attorneys of 33 plaintiffs wrote in their legal filings.
TikTok denied the claim, and its legal team also argues that the company can transfer data to its headquarter in Beijing, if it so chooses, without breaking any law.
On Aug. 6, President Trump signed an executive order banning U.S. companies from doing business with ByteDance and gave a September 20th deadline to shut down its U.S operation. In his order, Trump said TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories.”
Disconnecting TikTok from American teenagers would bring a sense of relief for many parents across the country. With such a gloomy reputation, however, a score of U.S. companies, including Microsoft, Walmart, offered to buy Tiktok in gaining its youth market in the U.S. In the meantime, Tiktok ran several give-away ads to retain its users, and filed lawsuit against the U.S. government to stop the ban.
The drama came to an end when Oracle announced its deal with Tiktok on September 14. The deal is still due for the U.S. governmental review and approval. Many speculate with Oracle’s full integration of the App and its clean cut on its user privacy from Tiktok’s headquarters in China.
The deal had been received as negative among most of the American public who increasingly want the U.S. to break from doing business with China. In addition to its user’s privacy and national security concerns, the app’s fundamental worry might be how it interacts with American teens.
One Youtube user said in Yahoo channel: “I think it should be banned because of the openness of sexualization of children for attention on the platform. I don’t care who owns it. I care that children are exposed to the type of content that should be reasonably meant for adults and that the content is not properly moderated. It’s disgusting and disturbing. Pedophiles use it as their playing grounds.”