Not just TikTok, these 3 Chinese apps also spy on users across the world; warns Australian study

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A new report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) highlights China’s potential efforts to gather user data through various social media platforms and online games, not just the widely debated short-video app TikTok. The report has been published in Voice of America.
Australian Strategic Policy Institute is a research organisation that receives funding from the Australian government and others overseas.
In a report earlier this month, it said, “Beijing’s propaganda chiefs are forging ties with Chinese tech companies to gather personal data from a wide range of social media apps or platforms and popular online games.”
Names of Chinese ‘spying apps’ named in the Australian report
The report claims that Chinese authorities are collaborating with tech companies like DiDi (ride-sharing app), Genshin Impact (action game), and Temu (online marketplace) to collect user information. This data, according to ASPI, could be used to understand user preferences, influence global information perception, and ultimately bolster China’s international influence.
The report emphasises that concerns extend beyond TikTok, which has faced scrutiny over potential data sharing with Chinese authorities. ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, has denied such practices and is challenging a proposed US law that could restrict the platform.
While the ASPI report raises concerns, some experts believe it exaggerates the situation. Marina Zhang, an academic specialising in China-Australia relations, argues that linking all social media apps to a coordinated propaganda effort might be an overreach. She advocates for technological collaboration over confrontation, fearing isolation for China if tensions escalate.
This news follows Australia’s 2023 ban on TikTok on government devices due to security and surveillance anxieties. The ASPI report reignites the debate about the potential reach of China’s data collection efforts and the best approach for navigating this complex issue.

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