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TikTok Gives Americans a Taste of Communism

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The popular video app TikTok is facing increased scrutiny due to its connections with the Chinese government.

The Washington Post reported on the app’s rise, which “was largely shaped by its Beijing-based parent company, which imposed strict rules on what could appear on the app in keeping with China’s restrictive view of acceptable speech.”

Complying with those roles often created conflict within the organization, according to accounts from U.S. employees.

The Post highlighted this:

American workers, accustomed to unrestrained expression online, bristled at commands to restrict videos that Beijing-based teams had deemed subversive or controversial, including heavy kissing, heated debates and the kinds of political discussions seen widely across the Web.

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TikTok claims that its American operations don’t clamp down on political content or “take instructions from its parent company, the Chinese tech giant ByteDance.”

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However, former U.S. employees said moderators in Beijing had the final say on which videos were approved. Former employees claimed that their attempts to convince Chinese teams to not block or penalize certain videos were repeatedly ignored. This was done out of fear of the Chinese government cracking down on the company and its staff.

Certain lawmakers like Missouri Senator Josh Hawley took TikTok to task for its connections to China and its unwillingness to answer major questions on Capitol Hill after the company refused to testify during a congressional hearing on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

“TikTok claims they don’t take direction from China. They claim they don’t censor. . . But that’s not what former employees of TikTok say,” said Hawley, referencing The Post’s report.

BLP previously reported on speculation of TikTok’s connections to the Chinese Communist Party and how it potentially poses a threat to Americans’ privacy rights.

While China discarded some of its most destructive economic policies in the 1980s, it still remains authoritarian politically. Even its economic growth has allowed politically-connected companies to project both economic and political power abroad.

In the near future, China and its corporate surrogates will likely pose major threats to U.S. interests and the basic civil liberties of millions of Americans who do business with these companies or use their technology.

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