China Can't Be Discounted From Using TikTok To Influence US Election

Giulio Saggin
Giulio Saggin
Wednesday 13 March 2024
China Can't Be Discounted From Using TikTok To Influence US Election
Solen Feyissa / Unsplash

TikTok could be used to influence the 2024 US elections. While this may come as no surprise, US director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, confirmed it when she told a House of Representatives intelligence committee hearing that China's ruling Communist Party (CCP) can't be discounted from using the social media app as a means of influencing November's election.

While this year's election was under the spotlight on Capitol Hill, earlier this week it was revealed in the 2024 Annual Threat Assessment that the Chinese government's propaganda arm used TikTok accounts to reportedly target both Democratic and Republican candidates during the 2022 midterm election cycle.

Last week, a bill was introduced into the House that gave TikTok's Chinese owner about six months to divest the app. In a move to fast-track the bill, the House of Representatives is this week set to vote on measures to win passage of the bill. Two-thirds of members are required to vote "yes" for this to happen.

President Joe Biden said he would sign the bill, although the app's popularity - 170 million Americans use it - and the fact it's an election year, might mean getting the bill approved by both the House and Senate could prove difficult.

TikTok has gone on the offense, stating that the bill amounts to a ban and that it has never, and will never, share US user data with the Chinese government. China has remained tight-lipped about divesting TikTok in the six-month time frame outlined.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, also speaking to the committee this week, said: “Americans need to ask themselves whether they want to give the Chinese government the ability to control access to their data.”

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