China Recruits Taylor Swift to Collect Data on Young Users with Special TikTok Deal for ‘Tortured Poets Department’ Album Release

Graham Denholm/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Taylor Swift is heading to TikTok for a special promotion to highlight her new album “The Tortured Poets Department” potentially giving the China-owned social media goliath access to millions of global user accounts and all the associated personal data that delivers.

Variety reports after Swift dropped her latest work at midnight — followed by a surprise 15 additional songs, revealing it’s a double album — TikTok followed up on Friday to announce “The Tortured Poets Department” in-app experience, featuring what it boasts are multiple “first-of-its-kind” features.

Specifically it boasted TikTokers can discover the Taylor Swift In-App Experience by unlocking “special entry points,” such as a TTPD icon across their For You feed or by searching “Taylor Swift” on TikTok, where a “Tortured Poets Department”-inspired animation appears.

The move to attract more users comes as a new trend on TikTok called “Things I’m ashamed to admit” involves the platform’s young users engaging in an unprecedented amount of oversharing under the guise of dispelling the notion that people are living perfect lives, as Breitbart News reported.

Some of the issues TikTok users have been admitting under the hashtag — which has reportedly been used more than 26,000 times since March — are fears about financial security, never finding love, and progression in life.

Now their music choices will also be added to the list of potential exposures to the Beijing-controlled media company, despite its claim to isolate U.S. user data from China.

In 2022, TikTok launched an initiative known as Project Texas, claiming it would be moving U.S. user data away from the app’s Chinese parent company ByteDance, which is beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.

“Project Texas is an unprecedented initiative dedicated to making every American on TikTok feel safe, with confidence that their data is secure and the platform is free from outside influence,” TikTok said of the initiative.

This endeavor, however, is “largely cosmetic,” and TikTok staff continued to work closely with Beijing-based ByteDance executives after Project Texas was implemented, several former employees of the app told Fortune:

As Breitbart News reported, the U.S. Senate is reviewing legislation that could ban TikTok if ByteDance doesn’t sell it within six months. The Chinese app has since purchased $2.1 million in television advertising in the battleground states in an apparent attempt to meddle in upcoming U.S. elections later in 2024.

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Authored by Simon Kent via Breitbart April 18th 2024