It goes much deeper than a single app and its users' data.
Thank you for such a thought provoking article, Chris!
Taking the thought "Chinese government creates a fanbase among Americans and other Westerners such that they oppose their own government’s attempts curtail the influence of the Chinese Communist Party" further, I've pondered a similar statement after watching the very entertaining videos from Xiaomanyc on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/@xiaomanyc).
Could it be that this born-Jew is taking on a Chinese name and marrying a Chinese woman with this intent? I pray not! The overwhelming experience I receive from his videos are "wow - I would love to learn more languages and converse with other cultures." I guess it's not out of the realm of possibilities for China to be strategizing in such a way, though.
I don't this argument is unique to TikTok. Any internet platform could be host to pro-CCP content. See: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/12/13/technology/china-propaganda-youtube-influencers.html