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Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Chinese TikTok Helped Democrats During Midterms

‘Either they don’t care and don’t have the protocols in place to deal with this, or they’re letting it happen...’

(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) TikTok accounts that were operating as a Chinese Communist Party [CCP] propaganda promoted messages that denigrated Republican candidates and favored Democratic ones ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, according to the Daily Caller.

Forbes found that several news-oriented accounts failed to disclose their affiliation with CCP state-owned media on the platform.

The accounts gained tens of millions of views on posts that covered highly divisive political topics, like abortion and race. They also posted clips that mostly targeted Republican candidates before the 2022 midterms.

“This opens a new dimension for a conversation about TikTok,” Conor Healy, director of government research at surveillance research group IPVM, said.

MediaLinks TV managed the accounts. The company is registered as a foreign agent for China with the Treasury Department in 2019 and distributes the U.S. branch of China Central Television (CCTV), CGTN. MediaLinks also controls the CCTV and CGTN apps.

According to Forbes, the largest accounts are @Panadorama, @The…Optimist and @NewsTokss. The last account openly covers U.S. National news.

The publication also reported that NewsTokss was a propaganda channel that criticized Republicans and praised Democrats.

“Cruz, Abbott Don’t Care About Us” is one such propaganda video that was published in July, referring to Texan Republicans, Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott. Another example would be targeted toward the Florida voters. In October, the “Done Absolutely Nothing” video was released about Sen. Marco Rubio.

However, some content swayed against Democrats. In October, NewsTokss released a video that asked viewers if Joe Biden’s promise to allow killing babies in wombs was just a “political manipulation tactic.”

The videos never clearly disclosed their ties to CGNT or CCP, but the accounts’ profile bios spelled out that the material is distributed by MediaLinks TV LLC on behalf of CCTV.

“Between May 8 and July 6, NewsTokss received 8.3 million views but only 57,600 profile views, suggesting many users who watched the videos may not have realized a foreign government was pushing the content,” Forbes said.

Also, by redirecting users to the Department of Justice [DOJ], MediaLinks revealed its status as a foreign agent.

Healy argued that such high-profile accounts should be easily identifiable as government-run.

“Either they don’t care and don’t have the protocols in place to deal with this, or they’re letting it happen,” he said.

The Caller also reported that Chinese company ByteDance owns TikTok, which causes suspicion that the company follows the CCP orders and prompts politicians to call for banning the app across the federal government.

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