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Chinese authorities tried to create a hidden account in TikTok for propaganda

A Chinese government public relations agency attempted to create a TikTok account targeted at Western audiences for propaganda purposes. However, the company that owns the site, ByteDance, stopped the authorities' attempt. TikTok's leadership continues to distance itself from Beijing's influence.

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Bloomberg obtained a letter dated April 20, 2020, addressed to the head of TikTok's department for relations with the governments of the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands and Israel, Elizabeth Kanter. Representatives of the Chinese institution said they were interested in joining TikTok, however, they did not want to reveal their affiliation with the state. The main purpose of creating the account was to promote content that showcases the positive side of China.

The top management of ByteDance discussed the request, but decided to reject it. The press service of TikTok said that the creation of such an account would lead to a violation of the principles of the platform. The rules of the site prohibit influencing public opinion by hiding the real identity. This also applies to political advertising.

TikTok allows certain Chinese government entities to have verified accounts. The company intends to expand its policy towards state-controlled media, a spokesman for the social network said. TikTok plans to start tagging government accounts.

Earlier in September 2020

In September 2020, the administration of former US President Donald Trump accused TikTok of collaborating with the Chinese Communist Party. The same month, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute reported that TikTok often hides criticism of the Russian authorities, as well as hashtags that relate to gender, sexual orientation and religion.

However, in February 2022, TikTok updated the rules to keep users safe and secure. ByteDance has banned misogyny, deadnaming, and misogyny on the platform.

Last October, advocacy group UltraViolet accused TikTok of not doing enough to crack down on hashtags that promote positive attitudes towards eating disorders.

Author: Michael Zippo
2022/08/01

https://linkedin.com/in/michael-zippo-9136441b1
[email protected]

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