TikTok staff accessed data to track journalists, ByteDance finds | Business and Economy

The parent company of the popular video app in China said the employees responsible no longer work for the company.

ByteDance, the parent company of popular video app TikTok in China, said some employees had illegally accessed the TikTok user data of two journalists and were no longer employed by the company, an email said. Reuters news view is shown.

ByteDance employees accessed the data as part of an unsuccessful effort to investigate leaks of company information earlier this year and aim to identify potential connections between the two journalists – one former BuzzFeed and Financial Times reporter — and company employees, according to an email sent on Thursday by ByteDance attorney Erich Andersen.

Employees looked at the IP addresses of journalists to try to find out if they were in the same location as the employee suspected of leaking confidential information.

The revelation, previously reported by the New York Times, could add to the pressure TikTok is facing in Washington from lawmakers and the administration of President Joe Biden over security concerns over US user data.

A person briefed on the matter said four ByteDance employees involved in the incident have been fired, including two in China and two in the United States. Company officials say they are taking additional steps to protect user data.

The US Congress is set to pass legislation this week to ban federal employees from downloading or using TikTok on government-owned devices. More than a dozen governors have Prohibited state employees from using TikTok on state-owned devices.

The Financial Times said in a statement that “snooping on reporters, interfering with their work or threatening their sources is completely unacceptable. We will investigate this story more fully before deciding on our official response.”

BuzzFeed News spokeswoman Lizzie Grams said the company was deeply concerned by the report, adding that it showed “a blatant disregard for the privacy and rights of journalists and users alike.” TikTok”.

Forbes reported on Thursday that ByteDance spied on multiple Forbes journalists, including several formerly at BuzzFeed “as part of a covert surveillance campaign” to uncover the source of the leak.

Randall Lane, Forbes’ chief content officer, called it “a direct attack on the idea of ​​a free press and its vital role in a functioning democracy”.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said in a separate email to employees seen by Reuters that “such misconduct does not at all represent what I know to be our company’s principles.” .

He said the company “will continue to enhance these access protocols, which have been significantly improved and strengthened since this initiative took place”.

Chew said that over the past 15 months, the company has been working on building out TikTok US Data Security (USDS) to ensure protected user data stays in the US.

“We are completing the migration of US protected user data management to the USDS division and have systematically cut off access points,” he wrote.

ByteDance also said that it is restructuring its Internal Audit and Risk Control functions, and that the global investigative function will be separated and restructured.

The Commission on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a national security agency, has for months sought to reach a national security agreement with ByteDance to protect the data of more than 100 million TikTok users in the United States. United States, but it looks like no deal will be reached before the end of the year.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio said of the incident that ByteDance “is trying to allay growing bipartisan concerns about how it allows the Chinese Communist Party to use – and potentially weaponize – US citizen data. Every day, it becomes clearer that we need to ban TikTok.”

Source by [author_name]


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button