That’s one of the main reasons why President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe have warned European nations to steer clear of Huawei, the Chinese tech company looking to build 5G networks so that it can spy on all electronic communications.
But the Chinese Communist government also uses domestic technology companies to push out Beijing’s propaganda to the masses, according to leaked documents cited by The Epoch Times.
The outlet notes:
Chinese tech companies have been documented to cooperate with Chinese authorities on censoring information and pushing Beijing’s propaganda messages.
One way the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses a popular news aggregator app owned by ByteDance to promote the regime’s propaganda content to users was unveiled in an internal document…
“Meanwhile, previous comments by staff at ByteDance’s app platforms, detailing the extent to which the software collects user data, raises questions about whether algorithms work similarly at ByteDance’s most widely-used app internationally, TikTok, as it seeks to sell its U.S. business before the U.S. administration’s appointed deadline of Sept. 15,” the outlet noted further.
The sale comes as a result of an executive order signed by President Trump in late July that bans TikTok from operating inside the United States unless it finds an American buyer.
As for the documents in question, in 2016 the propaganda bureau for the city government of Luohe sent a notice to all committees of the Chinese Communist Party on the county and district government levels informing them to establish accounts on Toutiao, a noted news aggregator app that is owned by ByteDance.
The notice goes on to describe how Toutiao can fashion propaganda messages to look as though they are really recommendations for users that the government is targeting.
“When there’s a big event or emergency incident happening, it can distribute information to designated users and users in designated regions. It supports the government in spreading information efficiently,” the document says, according to The Epoch Times.
In January 2018, Cao Huanhuan, a software engineer at Tautiao, discussed how the app’s algorithms can track the preferences and habits of users in a post to the company’s official website.
Before promoting a government-approved post to a user, the algorithm has to gather three types of information: “The characteristics of a post the user interacts with; the user’s characteristics; and where the user is when he/she opens the app, according to Cao,” the outlet reported. (Related: EMP threat to U.S. power grid identified just weeks ahead of vitally important elections.)
In addition, the algorithm is designed to monitor histories of users who are similar to a targeted user — to include people within similar professions or who express interest in similar activities and hobbies. After the app managed to collect all of the required personal information, an artificial intelligence tool generates recommendations to the user.
Viola: Instant electronic propaganda delivered right to a user in a way that the Soviets never could.
“The different social media platforms from our company [ByteDance] use this same powerful algorithm, but make adjustments according to each platform’s business models,” Cao noted.
As for TikTok, the Trump administration believes the platform is being co-opted by the Chinese government for similar reasons: To push propaganda, especially to American users even as Beijing ramps up its military might in the South China Sea region and competes for influence around the world via its Belt and Road Initiative, which is essentially a debt trap for smaller countries that gives China more access to regions it seeks to control.
That ‘region’ would include the portion of the U.S. Congress where Democrats congregate, as they are China’s biggest champions — as Rep. Adam Schiff of California consistently proves.