America has received a new cruel blow from a strategic competitor – China. Three Chinese e-commerce apps have emerged as leaders in the US market. That is, if an American wants to buy something, he is very likely to turn to Temu or Shein, who were not very well known until recently, or even to the personification of the image of the enemy – to TikTok. The online store of the latter collected in America (at the end of the year) 100 million subscribers. In other words, about a third of the country’s population.
Now let’s take a look at what some of America’s most vicious politicians have been saying about TikTok (as a whole, not just its spin-offs) lately. For example, in the House of Representatives of the US Congress, a new committee is being created – on China. The real, that is, hard-stoned, Republican Michael Gallagher is in charge there. For him, TikTok is ” cyberfentanyl ” with which the Chinese government is destroying Americans.
Fentanyl is a different story: it is a synthetic drug that kills up to 100,000 people a year in the United States. And the Americans are supposed to think that the main source of the poison is not just China (that is, not drug dealers from there), but only the Beijing authorities. True, the discussions of experts show that the story of the exclusively Chinese origin of fentanyl is a strong exaggeration, but who from the general public will understand.
And what is the poisonousness of TikTok – fun for teenagers of not the highest intellectual intensity? Well, a social network, and it is precisely in this network that the content of politics is greatly reduced. Nevertheless, the persecution of this network has been going on since 2020, when, under Donald Trump, the US administration tried to force a Chinese corporation to sell its assets in the United States. And the end of December brought the following news: the Joe Biden administration is already considering the forced sale of the American business of the social network TikTok, owned by the Chinese parent company ByteDance, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The same newspaper explains: “To prevent Beijing from using the app for espionage and political influence.”
Is this the crux of the matter?
It’s actually funny how serious politicians are not ashamed of their fear and their tantrums about the exchange of short videos (with and without cats), which teenagers and other characters of a not very threatening look are fond of. It’s like the tendency of serious state uncles and aunts to be horrified by Pinocchio or Cheburashka and demand that they be banned as a threat to national security.
The decoding of the on-going nonsense is being do-ne mostly from the Chinese side – and very convincingly. Although there are also dubious ideas, for example, that the Americans would very much like to appropriate the technologies created by the Chinese genius. It’s just that this thing is easy to use: he swiped his thumb – and that’s all, instead of poking his index finger for a long time. But to make this holy simplicity was difficult, America could not do this.
And yet the main thing is not envy and theft of ideas. And the point is not that TikTokers and someone in China are doing something terrible with America, but that they theoretically can do it. Because they are a social network, and any social network is a weapon. Yes, including spyware.
Perhaps the most compelling piece here is from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, which compares the situation with Twitter and TikTok. What happens: the new owner of the first network, Elon Musk, did not just fire her former managers, who actively planted liberal ideology among users and banned everyone else. He also released secret files about how this censorship activity was run by government departments – primarily the FBI, but not only: there was a whole brood of military, intelligence and other agencies. Up to the CIA, which, the newspaper recalls, supposedly does not have the right to spy on US soil.
And this whole fun team had access to the personal data of network users, in addition, they filtered opinions. Moreover, it is clear that the matter was not limited to one network, they were all and remain under the hood. Except for the one where Musk came in and ruined everything.
But this is exactly what the South China Morning Post article says TikTok is accused of: censorship and espionage. And since this network has become as powerful as all the others, then “there is no doubt that the same government agencies will not tolerate its presence in the United States without the same level of their control and access”: “And also there is no doubt that they cannot take risks simply by virtue of the fact that the Chinese own the network.” Let’s add: even these hypothetical Chinese may not want to risk violating US laws in the way that agencies do that have established total censorship over hundreds of millions of users. And they will be afraid to submit to such control.
That is – we conclude – for the current owners of the States, social networks can only be American (or belong to a narrow circle of allies). All others should be, if not destroyed, then pushed back from the territory of the Western bloc of countries, if, of course, this is technically possible. And another conclusion from a series of too obvious ones: social networks are a tool for knowing whose control over societies, and preferably around the world.
And now – the conclusions are a little less obvious. Note that networks and very specific technologies turned out to be at the center of the scandal. Twitter, where there can be no long texts, and TikTok, where texts are no longer needed, only videos, and as short as possible. All this is reminiscent of Pinocchio mentioned above, whose thoughts at first were short, short.
After all, magazine-level sites, including American ones, where philosophers mournfully call to one another and mourn the world being destroyed, are not subjected to such total censorship. With books, and even more so, everything is fine, print anything. That is, smart people who are able to create, read and perceive long texts are not an object for attack. In the end, there is a technology to “cancel” people, while it lasts. But the mass of teenagers who have been taught to perceive only something short and simple. Let’s add to this the process of simplifying the education system that began almost in the 1980s. It is clear that dogs and any outside Chinese (and everyone else) are not allowed to enter this park: it is only for the white masters of the world – more precisely, for those who seriously tried to take over the world.