TikTok is Stopping Us from Producing Ammo for Ukraine, Arms Manufacturer Claims

A Ukraine Army recruit loads a magazine with cartridges as they part in a live firing training session with members of Britain's and New Zealand's armed forces personnel, at a Ministry of Defence (MOD) training base in southern England on March 27, 2023. (Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP) (Photo …
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

A TikTok data centre is using so much electricity there isn’t any spare capacity in the region to power the expansion of an arms manufacturing plant, Norway’s part-state-owned defence company has claimed.

Nammo, an ammunition manufacturing company partly owned by the Norwegian government, has lashed out at Chinese social media platform TikTok for allegedly preventing the arms manufacturer from making more ammunition for Ukraine.

It is perhaps the most remarkable of the recent allegations made against the Chinese Communist Party-linked platform, which has seen governments across the West clamp down on it over China spying fears.

According to a report by the Financial Times however, officials from Nammo now allege that the social media giant is now directly impeding Ukraine’s war efforts. This is reportedly due to the high energy consumption of a data centre linked to TikTok that is located near the Nammo factory, with local energy suppliers reportedly being unable to both supply enough electricity to the ammunition manufacturer for it to increase production while also serving the needs of the server centre.

“We are concerned because we see our future growth is challenged by the storage of cat videos,” Nammo chief executive Morten Brandtzæg said, claiming that the company was supplying 6,000 rounds per day to the Zelensky administration, but that the country needed even more.

Brandtzæg went on to suggest that TikTok’s high power consumption with the local data centre might even be intentional. “I will not rule out that it’s not by pure coincidence that this activity is close to a defence company,” he said. “I can’t rule it out.”

The claim that TikTok is now, intentionally or otherwise, disrupting the Ukrainian war effort against Russia by using as much European electricity as possible is perhaps one of the biggest claims made against the Chinese social media platform in recent days.

Politicians and news outlets have linked the popular app to a wide variety of problems from Chinese spying to the rise of paganism in Western nations.

Western governments appear to be mostly concerned about the security issues posed by TikTok, with a variety of governments in Europe and America ordering their workforces to try and stay off the platform, often ordering it to be deleted from government-owned devices.

U.S. authorities are keen to take things a step further, with support for a general country-wide TikTok ban growing both amongst the country’s political elite.

“I do NOT trust that TikTok will ever embrace American values—values for freedom, human rights, and innovation (sic),” one Republican lawmaker said last week. “It should be banned.”

Perhaps a more pressing issue for Europe however is the issue of energy, with one Nordic industrialist reportedly telling the Financial Times that as the supply of electricity grows tighter — amid, some claim, ongoing green energy failures and gas shortages — manufacturers in every sector will become embroiled in more and more battles with big tech over energy use.

“It will be a big fight,” they reportedly explained. “Do we want green steel or data centres for Facebook?”

Brandtzæg is said to have agreed with this assessment, warning that the company’s disagreement with TikTok was likely not to be a “once-off”, but a “trend for the future”.

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