The Islamic State was reportedly using Chinese-owned TikTok for recruitment purposes – until the country and company got serious about fighting radical Islamic terrorism and banned several radical users from the application.
“The Wall Street Journal says social media monitoring agency Storyful recently identified around two dozen ISIS-related accounts, all of which have since been removed. The accounts posted videos aimed at recruiting followers and bolstering support for the terrorist group — featuring Islamic State anthems and footage of corpses and ISIS fighters,” according to The Verge.
TikTok was developed by ByteDance, the highest-valued startup in the world founded by Chinese oligarch Zhang Yiming.
“The accounts that Storyful identified also appear to be relatively small. The Journal identifies one video as earning 68 likes and some accounts as having around 1,000 followers; Storyful didn’t immediately confirm whether that’s typical of the accounts’ popularity, or whether these are the first accounts they’ve found on TikTok,” The Verge said.
TikTok’s actions are a stark contrast to American-owned Facebook, which has removed some Islamic extremist content but also auto-generates pages for ISIS and al-Qaeda.
Facebook, of course, is focused on what it believes is a far more dangerous demographic: American conservatives. It has banned our own Laura Loomer, as well as other effective conservatives including Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, and Gavin McInnes. Meanwhile, the terror pages persist.
This is not to suggest that TikTok has the moral high ground. Nearly all social media companies face issues with extremist recruiting, and TikTok faces its own unique set of censorship concerns. We recently reported that the startup is working on behalf of the brutal Chinese regime to censor anti-communist content.
Meanwhile, elected officials in the United States continue their spurious response to the epidemic of censorship.
In response to the censorship allegations against TikTok, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking the Committee on Foreign Investment to investigate whether TikTok was censoring American anti-communist content on its platform. Rubio – along with most of our esteemed elected officials – have been silent on censorship of conservative Americans by American tech companies, Facebook and Twitter being the largest examples.
But American Big Tech has played a substantial role in bankrolling the political aspirations of politicians like Rubio, so perhaps unsurprisingly, such politicians have a soft spot for the Silicon Valley titans.
“In fact, out of all of the presidential candidates in 2016 both Democrat and Republican, Rubio was the sole beneficiary of campaign contributions from Big Tech titan Facebook,” we reported. “So, while Rubio takes a ‘principled stand’ against TikTok, a popular but not ubiquitous fad app, in order to bolster his anti-censorship credibility, he’ll likely never stand up to the most powerful Big Tech companies in the world like Facebook, which is in his pocket.”
As illustrated, while Big Tech continues to up the ante in dominating every aspect of the lives of its users, it still has major problems with which to content, not the least of which being its radical extremism problem – and the “radical extremism” of the political right.
Peter D'Abrosca is a freelance investigative reporter, author, and conservative political commentator.
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