The Washington PostThe Washington Post

How the Chinese spy balloon drama played out on Chinese-owned TikTok

By Drew Harwell

07 Feb 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Videos poking fun at China’s spy balloon have been viewed 90 million times on TikTok. While critics remain concerned about the app, The Washington Post explains why it may not be such a big threat.

When Scott Comey, a real estate broker in Myrtle Beach, S.C., got cellphone video from his backyard of the moment an F-22 fighter jet missile blasted the Chinese spy balloon, he raced to post it to his social media platform of choice: the Chinese-owned video app TikTok.

The world's most popular app, used by roughly 100 million in the United States, has been constantly criticized in Washington as a platform that the Chinese government could use to shape and censor what Americans see.

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