Is China using the app Tik Tok to spur antisemitism in the United States? According to Jewish social media influencers, the answer is yes, and now they are “calling on TikTok to combat an alarming surge in antisemitism that they say is making the popular short-form video platform unsafe for the Jewish community.
‘Your Jewish creators – who regularly enliven the For You page with videos of dancing, cooking, singing and positivity of all kinds – are being bombarded with abhorrent inhumanity solely due to our ethno-religious identity,” reads the “Dear TikTok” letter provided exclusively to USA TODAY.
The daily barrage of hate and harassment that regularly targets Jewish content creators on TikTok “has been compounded to unimaginable degrees” since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, according to the more than three dozen social media influencers and public figures who signed the letter.”
What TikTok is showing users:
Either #FreePalestine is more popular than Kim Jong Un in North Korea
Or the TikTok algorithm is totally rigged to push pro-Palestinian content (favored by the CCP)
Wonder which it is.. 🤔 https://t.co/UxutNhRds1
— Jacob Helberg (@jacobhelberg) November 2, 2023
Recently, polling revealed that a startling amount of those under the age of 35 believed that Hamas murdering innocents, raping women, and decapitating babies was justified.
The National Review noted that “when asked, ‘Do you think that the attacks on Jews were genocidal in nature or not genocidal?” 62 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 said yes. However, when asked, “Do you think the Hamas killing of 1200 Israeli civilians in Israel can be justified by the grievances of Palestinians or is it not justified?’ a 51 percent to 49 percent majority said the attacks were justified.
To repeat: Sixty-two percent say the attacks were genocidal, but only 49 percent say the genocide against Jews wasn’t justified.”
Now, Congress is again taking up the notion of banning the Chinese spy app.
Rep. Mike Gallagher recently explained in The Free Press, how we reached a point where a majority of young Americans hold such a morally bankrupt view of rooting for terrorists who had kidnapped American citizens.
The short answer is, increasingly, via social media and predominantly TikTok. TikTok is not just an app teenagers use to make viral dance videos. A growing number of Americans rely on it for their news. Today, TikTok is the top search engine for more than half of Gen Z, and about six in ten Americans are hooked on the app before their seventeenth birthday. And it is controlled by America’s foremost adversary, one that does not share our interests or our values: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is Chinese, and in China there is no such thing as a private company. As if to underscore the point, ByteDance’s chief editor, Zhang Fuping, is also the boss of the company’s internal Communist Party cell.
We know of TikTok’s predatory nature because the app has several versions. In China, there is a safely sanitized version called Douyin. That version, using much of the same technology, shows kids science experiments and other educational content, and its use is limited to forty minutes per day. Here in America, the application’s algorithm is exquisitely tuned to prioritize polarizing outrage and addictive, brain-numbing nonsense (at best) and dangerous propaganda (at worst). Put differently, ByteDance and the CCP have decided that China’s children get spinach, and America’s get digital fentanyl.
And we are absolutely hooked, with 16 percent of teens using it “almost constantly.” Today, 69.7 percent of Americans aged 12–17, 76.2 percent aged 18–24, and 54 percent aged 25–34 use TikTok. By tweaking the TikTok algorithm, the CCP can censor information and influence Americans of all ages on a variety of issues. It can shape what facts they consider accurate, and what conclusions they draw from world events.
If you doubt that the CCP would introduce bias—against Israel, against Jews, against the West, or anything else—into apps under its de facto control, consider that on October 31 The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese web platforms Baidu and Alibaba have wiped Israel off the map—literally. The two most widely used mapping programs in China show the outlines of Israel’s territory but do not label it as Israel, and may not have for some time.
The New York Post reports that “the trends have worried prominent GOP lawmakers and officials – some of whom, like Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) [along with] Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), have called for a nationwide ban on TikTok over concerns that the app functions as a spying and propaganda tool for the Chinese Communist party.
Blackburn told the Post that it ‘would not be surprising that the Chinese-owned TikTok is pushing pro-Hamas content’ to serve China’s agenda – which has increasingly aligned with the interests of rival nations such as Russia and Iran.
‘The CCP benefits by destabilizing the Middle East and pushing the United States to put more manpower back into the region,’ Blackburn said. “The United States needs to ban this app that steals and spies on American users.’”
Israel-Palestine is not the most significant conflict in which China uses the social media app to divide Americans and cause chaos. During a spring session before the Senate Intelligence Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed concerns that the Chinese government might utilize TikTok to manage the data of millions of individuals and leverage the short-form video platform for influencing public sentiment in the event of a potential invasion of Taiwan by China.
According to Bloomberg News, however, we should not expect a ban in the United States any time soon.
Although President Biden knows that Tik Tok undermines the United States and is a propaganda tool for communist China, Democrats need it to try and drive the youth vote. The outlet put it succinctly: “The platform may be a national security risk, but it is also one of the best ways to reach younger voters.”