Videos on TikTok are easy to become hooked on, but the super-popular app has been under continual assault for its potential connections to the Chinese government. TikTok’s parent firm, ByteDance, spied on Forbes writers, according to a new investigation. The announcement comes in the same week that Congress will likely vote to prohibit the use of the app TikTok on government-issued smartphones in the United States.
In June, BuzzFeed discovered that Chinese workers at ByteDance have unauthorised access to the data of American users. The media source uncovered proof in the form of dozens of secretly recorded TikTok staff meetings. TikTok wasted no time in announcing that it will wipe all user data from its own servers and instead send it through Oracle’s cloud network in the United States.
Even though it stated it wouldn’t be able to do so back in June, it appears ByteDance still possesses the technology to secretly monitor American residents without their knowledge or agreement. Through its research, Forbes learned that TikTok spied on many users, including two of its journalists. The media source speculates that this was done to find out if a TikTok employee had leaked confidential material to Forbes, which led to a series of articles in which Forbes criticised TikTok and investigated its links to the Chinese government.
ByteDance’s own investigation into the matter after the Forbes article’s publication verified the existence of such unlawful user tracking, albeit only for the two reporters at Forbes. The Chinese corporation as a result has dismissed four people: two stationed in the US and two senior executives from China who approved the spying.
The CEOs of both ByteDance and TikTok have released comments explaining that despite having migrated to Oracle’s servers, the companies are still removing data related to some of their older US users from their own systems. For the time being, it has blocked entry to that kind of private user data.
Even though ByteDance is responding to the matter and taking action against the accused workers, this incident raises a number of concerns regarding the privacy of ByteDance users. This occurs just as Congress is debating whether to follow the lead of numerous US states and prohibit TikTok on government-issued devices. A measure has been introduced in the United States that would outlaw TikTok entirely on all consumer devices, although it is likely to be challenged in court. What this means for your TikTok account and your dependence on its short videos remains to be seen.
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