Friday, August 12, 2022

Tiktok user’s data in US accessed by China-based employees

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TikTok, the viral video app owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd. said certain employees outside the US can access information from American users.

The company’s admission came in a letter to nine US senators who accused TikTok and its parent of monitoring US citizens and asked them if any China-based employees have access to US users’ data or not and their role in shaping TikTok’s algorithm and if any of that information shared with the Chinese government or not.

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On June 30, TikTok Chief Executive Officer Shou Zi Chew said that currently, China-based employees who clear a number of internal security protocols can access certain information on TikTok’s US users, including public videos and comments.

Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee told Bloomberg on Friday, “TikTok’s response confirms our fears about the CCP’s influence in the company were well founded. The Chinese-run company should have come clean from the start, but it attempted to shroud its work in secrecy. Americans need to know if they are on TikTok, Communist China has their information.” 

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Tiktok reports from media:

The New York Times reported earlier on TikTok’s response. The lawmakers said in the letter that TikTok and its parent “are using their accounts.” “The law will be promulgated and codified in probably the next 18 months, I would say — and that’s how every Chinese company is going to be able to operate in the US,” the lawyer said.

In the letter, Chew wrote that the BuzzFeed News report “contains allegations and insinuations that are incorrect and are not supported by facts.” In a statement to BuzzFeed News for its report, a TikTok spokesperson said, in part: “We know we’re among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data.” After BuzzFeed News published its report, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr called Apple and Google to remove Tiktok from their app stores.

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