Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wants to take action against state interference from China. “We have just come from a strong dependence on Russia for energy supply. We don’t want to create further dependencies,” said the SPD politician during her visit to the US capital Washington with a view to China. One is very careful to recognize state influence by China as early as possible, said Faeser with a view to the Chinese social media app Tiktok.

However, she does not see a general ban on Tiktok for Germany, as is being discussed in the USA. However, one must clarify that Tiktok is a company from which “the data can of course flow away,” emphasized Faeser. The service is under increasing pressure because it belongs to the Chinese Bytedance group. During her visit to the United States, she also wants to talk about the influence exerted by disinformation campaigns controlled by Russia and China, Faeser said.

Concerns are being expressed in the US and Europe that Chinese authorities and intelligence services could collect data about users via Tiktok or influence them. According to media reports, the US government is demanding the exit of Chinese shareholders. Tiktok rejects the suspicions and emphasizes that it does not see itself as a subsidiary of a Chinese company, since Bytedance is 60 percent owned by western investors and has its headquarters in the Cayman Islands. Critics counter that the Chinese founders held 20 percent of the control thanks to higher voting rights and that Bytedance has a large headquarters in Beijing.