AI

TikTok Employees Urged to Play Down Chinese Origins: Gizmodo

 

ByteDance, the company that owns hit video platform TikTok, tries to play down its Chinese origins, according to leaked documents obtained by a US tech website.

The firm seems to think its biggest public perception problem is that it’s from China, according to the trove of material accessed by Gizmodo.

The documents include a 53-page file called TikTok Master Messaging. It appears to outline key messages the company wants the public to hear.

“Downplay the parent company ByteDance, downplay the China association, downplay AI,” is the key message for TikTok employees talking to media, Gizmodo reported.

According to Gizmodo, TikTok staff are advised to emphasise distance between the app and its corporate owner.

 

Recommended Response to Media Questions

“Bytedance is the holding company of TikTok. TikTok employees cannot comment on ByteDance. We will refer to ByteDance itself,” Tiktok recommends as a response to media questions, Gizmodo reported.

TikTok’s Chinese ownership has been a longstanding bugbear, especially in the US. Last month, US Federal Communications Commission member Brendan Carr wrote to Apple and Google, calling on them to remove TikTok from their app stores.

Carr described TikTok as a data-gathering tool for the Chinese authorities. Activists in Australia have also called for a ban.

Indian authorities have prohibited the app since January 2021, although the Economic Times reported last month that it was seeking to re-enter the market through a partnership with Hiranandani Group.

Tiktok has also been banned in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Armenia and Azerbaijan but for reasons unrelated to its Chinese origin or allegations of data gathering.

TikTok is not available in China, while ByteDance halted the app’s operations in Hong Kong in 2020 after Beijing imposed a new national security law on the special administrative region.

 

  • George Russell

 

 

READ MORE:

US Troops Using China’s TikTok Risks National Security, says FCC

Kids Turn to China’s TikTok as West’s YouTube Falls Behind

US Senators Challenge TikTok Over Russian Propaganda

 

 

 

George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

Recent Posts

Mayors of Big Global Cities Calling for Urban Climate Finance

Officials from some of the world's biggest cities are in Washington to lobby for better…

14 hours ago

Trade War Heating Up: China Hits Back After Biden Boosts Tariffs

China announces "anti-dumping penalties" on imports of a US chemical and orders Apple to cut…

18 hours ago

Wall St ‘Steered Billions Into Blacklisted China Firms’ – Nikkei

Chinese companies invested in included the Aviation Industry Corp of China, a defence conglomerate that…

21 hours ago

China Orders Apple to Cut WhatsApp, Threads from App Store

US tech giant said Beijing ordered it to cut the messaging apps because of national…

21 hours ago

Nikkei Slumps, Hang Seng Dips as Middle East Fears Grip

Israel’s missile attack on Iran sent investors heading for safe-haven currencies, gold and crude oil

22 hours ago

Study Shows Half of China’s Big Cities Sinking, Rising Seas Risk

Multi-year satellite study finds 45% of big Chinese cities are subsiding over 3mm a year,…

22 hours ago