Arms Manufacturer Says TikTok ‘Cat Videos’ Are Keeping It From Making Ammo

A Norwegian arms company had said that TikTok servers' electricity demands are keeping it from producing artillery shells for the war in Ukraine.
Concept art of TikTok data center in Norway.

The Norwegian defense company Nammo said it can’t expand its factory and make new ammunition because TikTok’s new data centers nearby are using up all the electricity. 

As reported by the Financial Times,  Nammo is a large defense company that’s co-owned by the Norwegian government and a defense company in Finland. The war in Ukraine has spiked demand for ammunition and Nammo is looking to expand, but it says it can’t because of a new neighbor: “We are concerned because we see our future growth is challenged by the storage of cat videos,” Nammo’s chief executive, Morten Brandtzæg, told the Financial Times


Kyiv is firing ammunition, especially artillery shells, faster than NATO can produce it. Russia is also running out of ammunition and, according to the Pentagon, is breaking out old and unstable reserves. According to Brandtzæg, artillery shell demand is 15 times higher than normal and Europe needs to spend more than $2 billion to keep up. 

In this case, Nammo is blaming the outdated and reductive notion that TikTok (or any internet video platform) is made up primarily by cat videos. The local energy company confirmed, however, that it couldn’t keep up with demand and had promised its electricity to TikTok.

TikTok is building three data centers in Norway with an option to construct two more by 2025. Panic around TikTok, which is owned by a Chinese company, has reached a fever pitch in the U.S. and Europe. On Friday, France became the latest country to ban TikTok on government devices. Norway passed a similar ban on Thursday. The U.S. is considering a nationwide ban.

The panic is fueled by some legitimate concerns about TikTok’s data privacy and its connections to the Chinese Communist Party. But TikTok’s data privacy is no better or worse than many Western companies like Facebook and Google, which routinely harvest and sell the data of its users.

There is a growing paranoia in the west about China, one Brandtzæg betrayed when the Financial Times asked him if he thought TikTok’s data centers stopping the production of ammo in Europe was a pure coincidence. “I will not rule out that it’s not by pure coincidence that this activity is close to a defense company. I can’t rule it out,” he said.