Following the recent criticism of the Chinese-owned app TikTok, China’s state-run newspaper Global Times has claimed that the app should be praised for “preventing cyber terrorism.”
In a recent article titled “TikTok deserves praise for preventing cyber terrorism,” China’s state-run Global Times praised the video app TikTok for allegedly removing two dozen Islamic State-linked accounts. Global Times alleges that these accounts were posting terrorist propaganda and recruitment videos and claims that the removal of the accounts “mirrors China’s resolve to counter terrorism on the internet and the urgency to boost internet management amid the rise of social media.”
The Global Times lashed out at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for criticizing TikTok during a recent speech:
Ironically, TikTok was blasted by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg not long ago. During his speech on October 17 at Georgetown University on free speech, Zuckerberg slammed the recent social media craze that has been sweeping the world for its alleged strict censorship, arguing that censoring content runs counter to the open spirit of the internet.
Zuckerberg’s hollow accusation against TikTok follows the same pattern of quite a few mainstream Western media, which are portraying China’s regulation on social media as an iron grip on freedom.
The Global Times alleges that while countries in the West have been debating the merits of free speech, terrorists have managed to “sneak in.”
The boundaries between freedom of speech and public security have often been a focus of debate when it comes to social governance. While Westerners are caught in an endless debate about it, they are letting terrorists sneak in.
Facebook is also accused of instigating political polarization. Brittany Kaiser, a former director for British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, said on Tuesday that “Facebook is actually the biggest threat to our democracy,” because “Zuckerberg decided that Facebook is not going to censor politicians that are spreading disinformation, weaponizing racial hatred.”
The state-run outlet states that the Chinese government has no plans to reverse course on its strict censorship laws, writing:
Everyone can sound noble talking about democracy and freedom, yet when potential risks are lurking, cracking down on security threats is apparently more significant.
This is why China will not change its course on internet management, especially against cyber terrorism. China is exploring how to maintain a free and healthy internet environment. But it also knows management is for the security of the country, the people, and better development.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently called on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review the acquisition of social media app Musical.ly by TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. over claims that TikTok is used by the Chinese government to censor certain political content.
Rubio stated in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that Chinese-owned apps “are increasingly being used to censor content and silence open discussion on topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government and Communist Party.” The Treasury secretary heads the CFIUS, which reviews mergers such as that of Musical.ly and TikTok to ensure that they do not damage national security.
Rubio stated that there was evidence that TikTok in the United States was censoring political content that was “not in line” with the Chinese government. Rubio stated that China “is using these apps to advance their foreign policy and globally suppress freedom of speech, expression, and other freedoms that we as Americans so deeply cherish.” In one example, TikTok has blacklisted popular Christian app pray.com from advertising on its app.