A photo has surfaced showing top executives of ByteDance, the owner of video-sharing app TikTok, posing with Communist Party members and a communist flag at the company's Beijing headquarters in 2019.
The photo comes the day after President Trump signed an order banning TikTok from the U.S. due to security concerns regarding the company's ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
According to Taiwan News, the event was held by the CCP branch of the Information and Communication Department and the Haidian District Overseas Chinese Federation (HCTF). The event headliner, shown on the photo below, was "Never forget the original intention, remember the mission, and promote the new era of Overseas Chinese Federation information communication work."
The photos and corresponding event information were released by human rights activist Jennifer Zeng on Wednesday. According to Zeng, the event had several notable and concerning talking points.
- Shi Yue, a CCP secretary with the HCTF, discussed the work of the HCTF in spreading propaganda overseas and the general principles of information dissemination.
- Feng Kaixu, the deputy secretary of the CCP committee and deputy editor-in-chief of ByteDance, talked about the company's business and Party-building work.
- Zuo Zhiqiang, secretary of the CCP's Information Dissemination Department, discussed the new era of information dissemination and the goals of using technology to spread propaganda and to manage the internet with the development of artificial intelligence, overseas capacity, and network security.
- ByteDance's staff showed CCP members how TikTok can mine large amounts of user data and analyze user behavior.
Taiwan News notes that all Chinese companies are required to have a member of the CCP on their executive team. ByteDance has had an internal CCP committee at its company since 2017, which gathers regularly to study speeches by Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping and "pledge[s] to follow the party in technological innovation."