TikTok Is a ‘Weaponized Military Application’: Expert

TikTok Is a ‘Weaponized Military Application’: Expert
The TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration created on July 13, 2021. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)
Andrew Thornebrooke
Tiffany Meier

Chinese-owned video app TikTok could be covertly sending users’ passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to one expert.

“When you’re actually doing keystrokes, typing each letter, each number, those are being recorded back in China, and under supervision of the Chinese Communist Party,” Casey Fleming, CEO of advisory firm BlackOps Partners, said during an Aug. 25 interview with “China in Focus” on NTD, a sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.

“What you’re texting, who you’re texting, passwords, email accounts, everything on your phone, anything that you’re typing in emails or texting, that keylogging is recording each word, each password, and so on.”

The comments come just a week after it was revealed that TikTok’s browser contained code for conducting keylogging, meaning that the app can record all of a user’s keystrokes on the device he or she is using, including in email and on websites.

Fleming described TikTok as an “espionage application” and said it’s being used to systematically harvest the personal information of Americans, particularly the young.

“People need to understand that TikTok is a weaponized military application in the hands of our middle schoolers, our kids, our high school kids, and our young adults,” Fleming said.

He added that the app is likely being used as part of the CCP’s strategy of “hybrid war,” in which the regime seeks to achieve military objectives through nonmilitary means.

To that end, he said, the app is being used to steal intellectual property, spread pro-CCP propaganda, and obtain information on Americans to be later used for blackmail.

As such, he said, Americans need to better understand the danger the app poses, and how it’s being used to promote China’s communist policies.

“You absolutely must believe and consider that anything coming out of China is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” Fleming said. “That’s what we as Americans, and people in the West, really get confused.

“We think that China is just like the United States, with the same type of management, government, values, and so on. It’s not. Everything in China, whether it’s a company, whether it’s an app, is completely controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Fleming said that the United States wouldn’t be able to continue to tolerate the proliferation of the app and also maintain a free society, and that the theft of data from millions of Americans, including children, was a form of hostile foreign influence over the nation.

“We really need laws and policies to say foreign influence should never be allowed in the United States, and we need to shut it down immediately,” Fleming said.

“Understand TikTok is not your friend. If you love your children, if you love your family, get the TikTok app off your phone, your tablet, your computer.

“Our freedom as a country is in the balance.”

TikTok didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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