Bloomberg, a Chinese state agency in charge of public relations, tried to open a secret account on TikTok by targeting Western audiences and running a media campaign for them, according to internal reports seen by the agency.
The attempt, which was thwarted by TikTok executives, highlights internal tensions at the fast-growing social media app, which is owned by Beijing-based BitDance, which has consistently sought to distance itself from the influence and influence of the state.
In a letter dated April 2020 to Elizabeth Kantor, TikTok’s head of government relations for the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Israel, she said: “The Chinese government agency is interested in joining TikTok, but apparently doesn’t want to see it. A government account. Because its main purpose is to promote content that shows the best side of China (a kind of political propaganda).
Kanter and some of the most important members of the government relations team at Byte Dance, including Enrich Andersen, who serves as president of global corporate affairs and general counsel in the U.S., discussed the matter internally but rejected the request. , they described it as “sensitive” and used Tech Talk about the incident to talk about the internal debate about other key claims made in the news.
A TikTok spokesperson said: “We declined to support this request because we believe creating such an account violates our community guidelines.”
According to the spokesperson, TikTok has rules against hiding the true identity of accounts to influence or sway public opinion, as well as against political advertising.
TikTok allows some Chinese government agencies, such as the Chinese Embassy in the United States, to have verified accounts, and the company plans to expand into the field of state media policy. , to include other government agencies.
News broke the same week that UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss pledged to crack down on Chinese companies, including TikTok, as part of her campaign to succeed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian criticized Truss’ comments on Monday.
“Coffee trailblazer. Social media ninja. Unapologetic web guru. Friendly music fan. Alcohol fanatic.”