Politico’s new owner: ‘TikTok should be banned in every democracy’

TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media obsession, has been once again outed as a nefarious agent of the Chinese Communist Party.

The latest warning comes from German media mogul Mathias Döpfner, who allegedly was hoping President Donald Trump would secure a second term in 2020, stating that the video-sharing platform is a “tool for espionage.”

The video-sharing app is owned by Chinese firm Bytedance and rocketed from nothing to over 1 billion users since it became globally available in 2018. It quickly gained traction among youngsters in the U.S. and around the world with its quirky short-form videos; often involving pranks, dances, stunts, and tricks. And a few cat videos as well.

“TikTok should be banned in every democracy,” Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer reportedly said in Los Angeles at Vox Media’s Code Conference, according to The Wrap.

He also called out as “naive and dangerous” governments of Western nations that allow the app.

According to The Wrap:

“TikTok should be banned in every country,” he repeated, in his Q and A with journalist Kara Swisher and professor Scott Galloway. “We have at the moment a naïveté with dealing with China…. We hand over personal data to the Chinese government.” He added: “It is of course a tool of espionage.”


Döpfner is CEO and 22% owner of the media conglomerate Axel Springer SE, which owns Politico, an American news publishing organization purchased by Axel Springer in October 2021 for over $1 billion. Axel Springer is reportedly the largest periodical publishing house in Europe, with over 15,000 employees working in many multimedia outlets including Morning Brew, Business Insider, Bild, and Die Welt in addition to Politico.

A revelation about Döpfner raised eyebrows earlier this week when a profile by Sarah Ellison of The Washington Post shared an email he had purportedly written in 2020.

“Do we all want to get together for an hour in the morning on November 3 and pray that Donald Trump will again become President of the United States of America?” Döpfner reportedly told business partners in the email.

“No American administration in the last 50 years has done more,” Döpfner had written, though Ellison said he denied that he had ever written the message.

“That’s intrinsically false,” he said to the Post. “That doesn’t exist. It has never been sent and has never been even imagined.”

Meanwhile, his remarks about TikTok generated discussion about the app which has been at the center of previous concerns.

As the voices of concern come from more people of high stature and especially those with big megaphones such as Döpfner, Tik Tok, ranked by Cloudfare as the most popular website in 2021 and even surpassing Google, may finally wind down.

Like all large companies in China, Bytedance is required to have Chinese Communist Party minders with intimate access to its business. Numerous studies have found that U.S. user data has been repeatedly accessed by Chinese entities. This is despite promises by Bytedance to store sensitive U.S. user data only within the U.S.

Concerns about such behavior have been brewing for years, with former President Trump having threatened to ban the app in the U.S.

The issue recently even became the focus of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which asked Apple and Google to remove Tik Tok from their app stores.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr on June 22 tweeted: “TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing. It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing. I’ve called on @Apple & @Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices.”

Many millions of youngsters seem to have become “addicted” to this nefarious piece of eye-candy and many parents may have a difficult time monitoring their child’s social media usage.


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