A former executive at ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials have “supreme access” to the popular social media platform, utilizing it as a tool for disseminating pro-Beijing propaganda, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
Yintao Yu, who headed ByteDance’s engineering operations in the United States until 2018, claims that TikTok is employed as a “useful propaganda tool” by the CCP.
The lawsuit further states that Yu was wrongfully terminated after exposing ByteDance’s alleged global scheme to steal technology from its competitors.
These allegations arise at a time when the Biden administration is considering a potential ban on TikTok due to concerns regarding Chinese government surveillance and the dissemination of pro-Beijing narratives through the app, Free Beacon notes.
TikTok, in an effort to avoid such a ban, has enlisted the services of numerous lobbyists and consulting firms.
Over the past year, TikTok lobbyists have made more than 40 visits to the White House.
Additionally, the company recently hired the Democratic consulting firm SKDK to provide “communications support,” with three of its executives having visited the White House since December.
Despite these concerns and lobbying efforts, many Democrats are opposed to a TikTok ban, partly due to its popularity among young liberal voters.
According to Yintao Yu’s claims, ByteDance maintains a dedicated unit in Beijing consisting of CCP members who oversee content on TikTok.
He alleges that this unit actively shapes the advancement of core Communist values within the company and maintains unrestricted access to all of its data, including data stored within the United States.
Yu states that he personally witnessed the propaganda initiative while at ByteDance.
He disclosed to the New York Times that the company’s engineers promoted anti-Japanese content and suppressed posts expressing support for pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.
It’s worth noting that World Economic Forum-aligned asset manager BlackRock holds 20% ownership in ByteDance.
In an intensified response to national security concerns surrounding the Beijing-based TikTok parent company, the Biden administration is advancing a proposal that would compel the Chinese owners to separate from the widely used video app, The Washington Post reports.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has recently presented TikTok with a range of more stringent alternatives, including the requirement for divestiture.
A source familiar with the discussions revealed this information, emphasizing the sensitivity of the matter by requesting anonymity.