Reuters/Ipsos poll: Most Americans see TikTok as a Chinese influence tool

Washington — A majority of Americans believe that China uses TikTok to shape U.S. public opinion, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted as Washington moves closer to potentially banning the Chinese-owned short-video app.

Some 58% of respondents to the two-day poll, which closed on Tuesday, agreed with a statement that the Chinese government uses TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, to “influence American public opinion.” Some 13% disagreed, and the rest were unsure or didn’t answer the question. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to see China as using the app to affect U.S. opinions.

TikTok says it has spent more than $1.5 billion on data security efforts and would not share data on its 170 million U.S. users with the Chinese government. The company told Congress last year that it does “not promote or remove content at the request of the Chinese government.”

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Joe Biden last week signed legislation giving ByteDance 270 days to divest TikTok’s U.S. assets or face a ban.

TikTok has vowed to challenge the ban as a violation of the protections of free expression enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and TikTok users are expected to again take legal action. A U.S. judge in Montana in November blocked a state ban on TikTok, citing free-speech concerns.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found 50% of Americans supported banning TikTok, while 32% opposed a ban and the rest were unsure. The poll only surveyed U.S. adults and doesn’t reflect the views of people under age 18, who make up a significant portion of TikTok’s users in the United States. About six in 10 poll respondents aged 40 and older supported a ban, compared with about four in 10 aged 18-39.

The poll showed 46% of Americans agreed with a statement that China is using the app to “spy on everyday Americas,” an allegation Beijing has denied.

The app is ubiquitous in America. Even Biden’s re-election campaign is using it as a tool to win over voters ahead of the Nov. 5 presidential election. Biden’s rival, Republican Donald Trump, who has criticized a potential ban and is the majority owner of the company that operates his social media app Truth Social, has not joined.

A majority of Americans, 60%, said it was inappropriate for U.S. political candidates to use TikTok to promote their campaigns.

Biden’s signing of the law sets a Jan. 19 deadline for a sale — one day before his term is set to expire — but he could extend the deadline by three months if he determines that ByteDance is making progress on divesting the app.

The poll, which was conducted online, gathered responses from 1,022 U.S. adults nationwide and had a margin of error of about 3 percentage points.

leave a reply:

Discover more from SELLINES

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading