Viral video app TikTok has been accused of being a data gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in news reports quoting an unnamed federal parliament member.
TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, though it has been taking steps to distance itself from that by opening offices around the world as it expands globally.
Its Chinese owner has become somewhat of a liability for the TikTok brand as regulators around the world accuse it of being linked to the CCP.
In addition the unnamed MP, the report quotes the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) think tank’s Fergus Ryan, who claims the CCP has a hold over the app and even has “cells inside the company”.
TikTok Australia’s newly minted director of public policy Brent Thomas told news.com.au the reports were “not credible”.
“This is a news report based on an unnamed source, supported by an organisation which has disclosed the receipt of foreign funding to publish its reports,” Mr Thomas said, referring to ASPI, “so it’s not credible”.
The app was accused of hiding sinister (and for the most part unproven) links to the CCP behind a fun facade, which Mr Thomas said was the reason so many Australians love the app.
“Consumers love TikTok in Australia, precisely because we focus on providing an experience that is safe as well as fun,” Mr Thomas said.
“We already have multiple safety measures in place for consumers, and we are continuing to invest in making it even safer.”