Employees Of TikTok Acknowledge Using The Well-known Social Media App To Spy On Journalists

The parent company of TikTok, Bytedance, has acknowledged that some of its staff members have been snooping on journalists on the well-known social media site.

A recent Forbes article said that the international media company had been looking into TikTok’s connections to China. Bytedance’s staff in China have been using the software to track the whereabouts of former BuzzFeed staffers Richard Niev, Katharine Schwab, and Emily Baker-White, who now writes for Forbes.

Bytedance and its ties to Chinese state media were first covered by the outlet earlier this year. Furthermore, according to a different Forbes article, Bytedance staff used the program to track the whereabouts of particular American residents using their IP addresses.

The Chinese corporation first refuted these claims when asked for comment regarding Bytedance’s snooping tactics. Rubo Liang, the CEO of ByteDance, later confirmed them to be accurate in an internal email that was made available to Forbes.

After conducting an inquiry, the Chinese corporation fired Song Ye and chief internal auditor Chris Lepitak, who were in charge of the operation.

Liang expressed his dissatisfaction with the issue in an internal email, saying it will negatively impact the company’s reputation. “The wrongdoing of a few people will seriously destroy the public trust that we have worked so hard to establish. … I think this experience will teach us all a valuable lesson,” he remarked.

The campaign to restrict the platform from being used on government-owned devices likely pick up steam in the wake of these recent findings, as American legislators feel intimidated by the company’s ties to China.

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