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German Chancellor Scholz joins TikTok with promise not to dance

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
German Chancellor Scholz joins TikTok with promise not to dance
German Chancellor Scholz entering a conference for European Social Democrats held in Bucarest, Romania on Saturday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Andreea Alexandru

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz opened a TikTok account on Monday, promising he would not be caught dancing on the social media platform popular with young people.

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The newest official government channel "increases the information offer to citizens, who increasingly inform themselves and discuss politics on TikTok", Scholz's spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said in a statement.

The account will offer "a look behind the scenes of everyday government life", Hebestreit said.

The chancellor himself made light of the new outreach on another social media channel.

"I will not dance. Promised," Scholz said on X.

Set to a teasing bassoon melody, his first TikTok video gave a tour of the Chancellor's office before showing Scholz at his desk.

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Scholz becomes the latest Western leader to join the Chinese-owned social media platform despite widespread security concerns and worries over disinformation.

US President Joe Biden opened an account in February, ahead of this year's US presidential election, in a bid to reach younger voters.

Biden's presence on the channel however did not prevent him from raising concerns about the ownership of the platform with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a call this month.

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Hebestreit said it was "by chance" the opening of the account came days ahead of Scholz's visit to China this weekend.

He also noted that Scholz's office had taken time to evaluate the platform before signing up.

Western officials have voiced alarm over the popularity of TikTok with young people, alleging that it is subservient to Beijing and a conduit to spread propaganda, claims denied by the company and Beijing.

The US House of Representatives last month overwhelmingly approved a bill that would force TikTok to divest from Chinese parent company ByteDance or face a nationwide ban.

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