Some evidence suggests that TikTok is still heavily censoring content critical of communist China.
President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is creating an official account on TikTok, despite the president banning the social media app from most government devices.
The president signed a law banning the app on most government devices due to the national security risks posed by its parent company, ByteDance, a Chinese corporation with deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Some evidence suggests that TikTok is still heavily censoring content critical of the CCP, however.
The House Select Committee on the CCP shared slides during a hearing in December outlining discrepancies between how such topics were shared on TikTok versus other platforms. “Viral topics” in politics and pop culture were proportionately represented on TikTok and Instagram in relation to the number of monthly users that both apps had.
Thus, there were about twice as many posts about Democrats, former President Donald Trump, Taylor Swift, and the “Barbie” movie on Instagram because Instagram has about twice as many monthly users as TikTok.
That proportionality changes, however, when one looks at topics heavily criticized or censored by the CCP.
There were about nine times fewer posts about the Uyghurs on TikTok than on Instagram, for example. And there were 30 times fewer posts about Tibet.
Moreover, there were 153 times fewer posts on TikTok about the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests and massacre, a topic heavily censored by Beijing on the mainland.
It is currently unclear whether the president will play any part in directing the content of his reelection campaign’s TikTok presence.
At the moment, the account boasts a profile photo displaying the so-called Dark Brandon meme.
It has only posted two videos, including one of President Biden talking about the Super Bowl and one condemning President Trump’s appointment of Supreme Court judges who overturned Roe v. Wade.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby declined to comment on the matter, saying it was a campaign matter.
Mr. Kirby added there was no change in White House policy.
Emel Akan contributed to this report.