Chinese-owned TikTok hires communications pro who worked for Biden, Pentagon


A former top communications official for the Biden administration and the Pentagon has taken a job at Chinese-owned TikTok, according to a report.

The social media app has plucked Jamal Brown from the US Department of Defense to “manage policy communications” for TikTok’s US sector, according to Politico.

Brown has worked as the deputy press secretary for the Pentagon since February 2021, where he moved after serving as a national press secretary for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.

The hire raised eyebrows across the aisle since Politico reported the news last week, with TikTok having been touted as a national security threat even since the platform exploded in popularity in the US in 2020.

“This sort of cozy relationship between the Biden Defense Department and TikTok is alarming,” Missouri Senator Josh Hawley told The Daily Mail.

Brown also worked in the White House under the Obama administration for six years as part of the US Office of Management and Budget.

Former Biden press secretary Jamal Brown
Former Biden press secretary Jamal Brown.
Twitter/Jamal Brown

“TikTok and their Chinese parent company present a serious national security threat, but Joe Biden continues to dither as they gobble up Americans’ personal information,” Hawley said.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is subject to Chinese Communist Party law that requires the company to share user data from the app upon request.

Over 86 million Americans have a TikTok account, which is more than 25% of the US population.

Last week, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr called for a ban on TikTok in the US entirely, calling it the only way to mitigate the threat the app poses to the nation’s cyber security.

TikTok app on phone
TikTok has not formally announced Brown’s hire, but he did change his Twitter bio to reflect his new employment.
dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

“I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban,” Carr said.

He added there is not “a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party].”

TikTok has not formally announced Brown’s hire, but on Monday he had changed his Twitter bio to reflect his new employment.