French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday used the wildly popular but controversial social media app TikTok for the first time to congratulate French school leavers after their exam results.
“The first thing to say is bravo, congratulations, it is the fruit of your work,” said Macron in a video filmed in the garden of the Elysee Palace.
But he also told the teenage viewers they belonged to a “generation which we are calling sometimes the world after”, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that the new generation must create a world that is “stronger, shows more solidarity and is more ecological”, while adding: “It is not me who will decide your future, it is you.”
Macron’s message follows local elections last month which indicated young voters in urban centres are increasingly voting green.
TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, has over the last months become a global sensation with users — especially young people — sharing 15 to 60-second video clips
But there has been increasing controversy over how it collects and uses data, although it has repeatedly denied sharing any user information with Chinese authorities.
India banned TikTok over national security concerns following a deadly border clash between its soldiers and Chinese forces.
And US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Washington is also looking at banning Chinese social media apps including TikTok.
Despite its ownership, TikTok is not available in mainland China, where ByteDance offers a variant called Douyin.