TikTok was found to be spying the locations of certain Americans
According to documents examined by Forbes, ByteDance intended to use the platform to access and track the whereabouts of particular Americans, according to files from the parent firm of TikTok, a short video platform startup based in China. Song Ye, an executive in Beijing who works directly for ByteDance Cofounder and CEO Rubo Liang, is in charge of the monitoring project in the company’s Internal Audit and Risk Control department.
TikTok spokesperson Maureen Shanahan said that TikTok collects approximate location information based on users’ IP addresses to, among other things, “help show relevant content and ads to users, comply with applicable laws and detect and prevent fraud and inauthentic behavior.”
However, according to the material Forbes reviewed, ByteDance’s internal audit team intended to utilize this location data to study Americans rather than target advertisements or anything similar. To safeguard the sources, Forbes has not yet disclosed the nature or reason for acquiring location data. TikTok and its parent firm declined to respond to the query regarding whether or not the internal audit specifically singled out any US government officials, activists, well-known individuals, or journalists.
“Like most companies our size, we have an internal audit function responsible for objectively auditing and evaluating the company and our employees’ adherence to our codes of conduct,” said ByteDance spokesperson Jennifer Banks in a statement. “This team provides its recommendations to the leadership team.”
Tiktok may enter into a contract with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which oversees the national security risk posed by foreign corporations under the Treasury Department. The committee has been looking into whether TikTok’s Chinese ownership could give the Chinese government access to the personal data of US users.