Taiwan is looking into alleged criminal activity on TikTok
The use of Chinese apps like TikTok by government agencies in Taiwan has already been prohibited.
TAIPEI: Taiwan’s government has launched an investigation into the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok on the grounds that it may be running an unlicensed branch on the island. However, the owner of the business has refuted the allegation.
TikTok, which is not very popular in Taiwan, has faced pressure primarily from Americans who are worried about China gaining access to user data, a concern the business vehemently refutes.
Taiwan’s China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council stated in a statement late on Sunday that a working group under the Cabinet had found evidence that TikTok was suspected of “illegal commercial operations” on December 9.
According to Taiwan’s Liberty Times newspaper, ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, has established a company on the island to advertise for business, in violation of a law that forbids Chinese social media companies from conducting business there.
In response to that report, the Mainland Affairs Council stated that the Cabinet’s working group had discovered that there was in fact a possible legal violation and that legal authorities were looking into it.
There was also a strong possibility that the Chinese government was gathering user data since “the mainland side has exploited short video platforms like TikTok to carry out cognitive operations and infiltration against other countries in recent years.”
ByteDance, however, claimed that “recent claims” that it has established a subsidiary were false.
Without going into further detail, it stated in an email reply to Reuters that “the company has not established any legal organisations in Taiwan.”
Taiwan forbids a variety of Chinese businesses from operating on the island, including social media sites and the hugely lucrative chip manufacturing sector.
According to the council, it has previously prohibited government agencies from using Chinese apps like TikTok.
In Taiwan, the most popular social media platforms are Facebook and Instagram, both of which are owned by Meta Platforms. Although TikTok lagged behind its competitors market research firms claim that it is growing in popularity among young people.
It has long claimed that China’s misinformation is being pushed on the island that Beijing claims as its own territory by means of social media.
As part of a multiyear effort to counter what many Taiwanese perceive to be Chinese attempts to influence politics and the democratic process, including through the covert funding of politicians and the media, among other tactics, Taiwan passed an anti-infiltration law in 2019.
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