TikTok parent company ByteDance fires employees who tracked journalists
TikTok’s parent company Byte Dance fired one executive and another resigned, after it was revealed the Chinese tech giant tracked journalists.
An internal investigation by Bytedance found employees wrongfully obtained the data of certain U.S. users, including their IP addresses. The company claimed internal auditors were trying to find the source of suspected leaks. The journalists they tracked worked for Forbes, Buzzfeed, and the Financial Times, organizations that have all written stories based on private, internal documents.
All of the employees involved were fired by the company, two were located in China, while the other two were in the United States.
Bytedance CEO Rubo Liang revealed the findings in an email to employees writing.
“I was deeply disappointed when I was notified of the situation … and I’m sure you feel the same. The public trust that we have spent huge efforts building is going to be significantly undermined by the misconduct of a few individuals.”
TikTok says it’s in the process of moving U.S. customer data to an oracle cloud, but historical data is still available on Bytedance’s Chinese servers. The company says it plans to delete that historical data.
In recent years, critics of Tiktok have warned that members of the Chinese Communist party could get access to American’s data. TikTok has an estimated 100 million users in the U.S. A number of states have banned the app from government issued devices.