“Journalist surveillance with TikTok” … U.S. parent company China launches investigation into ByteDance
The US Department of Justice has launched an investigation into allegations that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance used TikTok to spy on US journalists, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on the 17th (local time).
Citing sources, the WSJ reported that the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors in Virginia are investigating allegations that ByteDance used TikTok to spy on the location information of U.S. journalists. ByteDance announced in December last year that it had fired employees involved after learning that some of its employees had used TikTok to monitor the location information of journalists from BuzzFeed and the Financial Times (FT). When the reporters made an exposé about ByteDance, ByteDance explained at the time that some employees did this to make sure they were in secret contact with its officials.
ByteDance has since responded positively, saying it reorganized its internal audit and risk management departments and blocked access to user data from the departments that did this. Earlier in the day, he also criticized the laid-off employees, saying, “An internal investigation is still ongoing and we will cooperate if an official investigation (by the U.S. authorities) begins.”
As the U.S. Department of Justice and others begin a full-scale investigation into the incident, the pressure on TikTok will increase. Currently, in the United States, the theory of security threats to TikTok is spreading, and even the “TikTok exit theory” is raising its head.
The U.S. government recently reportedly asked TikTok’s Chinese founders to sell their stake in TikTok to U.S. capital, warning them that if they didn’t, they could be banned from using TikTok in the U.S. TikTok CEO Zhou Shou will attend a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 23 to explain the security threat.