Time passed and we know more now.
In all seriousness, you should stop and ask yourself why so many people "knew" that this was Chinese spyware three years ago, and why you're just finding out about it now. What caused you to disregard this information when it was widely available in 2020? Can you think of any other post-2020 examples of the media and government misleading you about any important issues? What does that lead you to conclude about the proper level of trust that you should assign to those institutions today?
Speculations started in 2017/18
Good point. I don't honestly remember the timeline very well here. I can't even remember whether my first exposure to Tiktok was "Here's a cool new social media service" or "We think this might be spyware operated by a foreign government." That's just always been part of the narrative for as long as I can remember. What I find amazing is people dropping into an old thread and being like "Well, we know more now than we did back then," when other people in this thread
were able to see this quite clearly back then. It seems like that would be cause for a little self-reflection. Instead, certain folks seem to be looking for reasons to excuse their aggressive incuriosity around this topic -- and others -- a few years ago.