FIRST ON FOX: A group of House Republicans is demanding more transparency from TikTok about how content is amplified and how much insight China has into those processes as accusations mount against the social platform that it’s boosting antisemitic videos.
‘On October 7, the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, brutally attacked Israel and killed more than 1,400 people. Since this terrorist attack, disinformation related to the conflict has run rampant on your platform, stoking antisemitism, support, and sympathy for Hamas,’ they wrote to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew.
The letter is being led by Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga. It comes just days after TikTok was under fire for facilitating a surge in viral videos expressing support for Usama bin Laden’s 2002 ‘Letter to America’ written in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
TikTok said the content ‘clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism,’ and that it would be removing the content. However, the company defended itself: ‘The number of videos on TikTok is small and reports of it trending on our platform are inaccurate. This is not unique to TikTok and has appeared across multiple platforms and the media.’
Carter cited reports that content flagged as pro-Palestinian was far more widely viewed than videos supporting Israel.
‘Many of the younger generations are turning to TikTok rather than search engines and other verifiable sources for their news. You have led these generations to believe that TikTok is an ‘unfiltered’ news source,’ the GOP lawmakers wrote.
National security hawks have been wary of TikTok’s connection to China, with its parent company ByteDance being based in Beijing.
‘Earlier this year, while testifying before the Committee on Energy and Commerce, you stated that the [Chinese government] did not have control over TikTok. However, former TikTok employees reported that [China] has access to American user data and is closely involved in decision-making and product development,’ the letter said.
‘This control, alongside troubling reports of privacy and data security breaches, such as monitoring American journalists’ locations, prove that the CCP is using TikTok as a surveillance and manipulation tool.’
The lawmakers are demanding to know how many employees at TikTok have connections to ByteDance, how the platform screens for misinformation and anti-Israel content amid the conflict with Hamas, and how its algorithms are curated, among other queries.
‘Given that roughly half of TikTok’s U.S. user base is under 25 years old, American youth are being exposed to extremely violent and disturbing images and videos,’ they wrote.
‘This deluge of pro-Hamas content is driving hateful antisemitic rhetoric and violent protests on campuses across the country. The CCP has already co-opted your platform, and it seems TikTok and TikTok’s employees are resigned to becoming a mouthpiece for antisemites, terrorists, and propaganda.’
Fox News Digital has reached out to TikTok for comment.