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The NATO to TikTok pipeline: Why is TikTok employing so many national security agents?

TikTok has become an enormously influential medium that reaches over one billion people worldwide. Having control over its algorithm or content moderation means the ability to set the terms of global debate and decide what people see. And what they don’t.

by Alan Macleod 

Part 2 - High-placed NATO recruits

Since 2020, there has been a wave of former spooks, spies and mandarins appointed to influential positions within TikTok, particularly around content and policy – some of whom, on paper at least, appear unqualified for such roles.

For example, while simultaneously being the Content Policy Lead for TikTok Canada, Alexander Corbeil is also the vice president of the NATO Association of Canada, a NATO-funded organization chaired by former Canadian Minister of Defense David Collenette. In order to join TikTok, Corbeil left his job at the SecDev Foundation, a U.S. State Department-funded security think tank. Corbeil’s work focused on Middle Eastern security and in particular on the war in Syria and what NATO’s role should be.

Another NATO-linked new recruit is Ayse Koçak, a Global Product Policy manager at the company. Before joining TikTok last year, she spent three years at NATO. Like Corbeil, Koçak had special expertise in Middle Eastern politics, including a year’s tour in Iraq as the organization’s deputy senior civilian representative.

Foard Copeland, who works on TikTok’s trust and safety policy, is also an ex-NATO man. Copeland previously worked as a desk officer for NATO, as well as for the Department of Defense. Between 2011 and 2021, he also worked for U.S. contractor Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI), spending much of that time in Afghanistan. DAI has long been accused of being a CIA front group, perhaps with some justification. In 2009, for example, DAI agent Alan Gross was arrested in Cuba and sentenced to 15 years in prison for spying, espionage, and his part in efforts to destabilize the government.

Perhaps the most worrying NATO alumnus, from a public perspective, is new Feature Policy Manager Greg Andersen. According to his own LinkedIn profile, until 2019, Andersen worked on “psychological operations” for NATO. This fact, according to MintPress contributor Lowkey, was removed after his tweet raising concerns about the relationship between big tech and the national security state went viral. Lowkey wrote:
 
                    So, the White House is briefing TikTok users about Ukraine. It is also alarming that the current Livestream Policy Manager for Europe, Middle East & Africa at TikTok, Greg Anderson, worked in psychological operations for NATO. A free society is not shaped like this.

Andersen’s profile continues to identify him as a former NATO employee, but there is no reference to “psychological operations” or “soldier-system lethality.” Lowkey provided MintPress with a screenshot of what he said was Andersen’s pre-tweet profile, which has been included below.

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