Emily Jashinsky, culture editor at The Federalist, explained on Wednesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow how TikTok may provide the Chinese Communist Party with the ability to manipulate American voters’ political perceptions.
Jashinsky noted how ByteDance, the China-based company which owns TikTok, can build “detailed voter profiles” for millions of American users on its digital platform.
“It’s built in a very kind of simple way,” she said of TikTok, “to suck as much data up about you as is possible and then feed you more and more content based on your swiping.”
TikTok captures users’ behaviors to construct personalized profiles and feed its broader algorithm, Jashinsky observed.
She remarked, “As you’re swiping through videos, they are building a profile on you.” She noted how TikTok logs the amount of time users spend viewing videos and the types of videos and profiles users observe. TikTok’s launching of an “Election Center,” she added, is a threat to national security.
Jashinsky warned of TikTok’s growing influence on American politics as a growing number of Americans describe the digital platform as a source of news and information. She said TikTok, and “social media” more broadly, is becoming the theatre in which “we litigate our politics and our personal lives.”
“We’re sleepwalking into this dystopia,” she warned. “ByteDance is legally required to give their data for national security purposes to the Chinese Communist Party if they ask. That’s the law. They say they won’t do that, but that’s a lot of trust to put in this company and the Chinese government not to use the data, but they can certainly try to manipulate voters with it.”
Manipulation of Americans’ political views “can be very subtle,” Jashinsky stated. She speculated that TikTok can be weaponized to make “Americans more and more divided,” such as “up-regulating trans content [and] BLM content.”
Marlow replied, “This is Chinese mind control because I think it is designed to — at a minimum — waste all of our time and maybe worse.” He added, “People are just getting stupid content that is so hard to shut off, because they’ve made the algorithm to rewire our brains, basically.”
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.