New Report Reveals Employees At China-Based TikTok Were Tracking Journalists and Regular Citizens

The China-based parent corporation that owns social media company TikTok stated on Thursday that an internal investigation has uncovered employees gathered private data of four tech journalists who work out of the United States, along with capturing user information from other American citizens.

And this is why this app needs to be booted from the country. It’s just one big threat to our national security designed to provide the Chinese Communist Party with a way to not only get intelligence, but to have an influence on young users of the platform.

“ByteDance, the Chinese tech giant that owns the video-sharing app, was accused earlier this year of tracking multiple reporters at Forbes under a covert surveillance campaign, which led to employees gaining access to information such as the IP addresses of some TikTok users connected to the reporters,” the Daily Wire’s Brandon Drey wrote.

“Forbes reported that ByteDance’s Internal Audit and Risk Control department was responsible for the alleged plan to monitor the locations of specific American citizens. The person who oversees that department is Beijing-based executive Song Ye, who reports to ByteDance co-founder and CEO Rubo Liang,” Drey’s report continued.

“I was deeply disappointed when I was notified of the situation … and I’m sure you feel the same,” Liang stated as part of an internal email to employees that was later shared with Forbes. “The public trust that we have spent huge efforts building is going to be significantly undermined by the misconduct of a few individuals … I believe this situation will serve as a lesson to us all.”

A report from the New York Times revealed that two workers who were involved in gathering the data were based in China, along with two other individuals who were located in the U.S.

The NY Times then stated that all four of these employees have now been fired from the company. Can you say “damage control” because that’s all this is. It’s not that these four workers are being punished because what they were doing was wrong. They were fired because they got caught. Period.

“ByteDance officials said the targeted reporters included Emily Baker-White, Katharine Schwab, and Richard Nieva — all three of whom wrote for BuzzFeed and are now at Forbes — and Cristina Criddle of the Financial Times,” the Daily Wire stated. “TikTok General Counsel Erich Andersen wrote in a second internal email shared with Forbes that internal audit groups investigating code of conduct violations are standard practices for companies.”

“However, in this case, individuals misused their authority to obtain access to TikTok user data,” Andersen remarked.

Shockingly, ByteDance and TikTok did not deny the surveillance took place, stating that the social media app “has never been used to ‘target’ any members of the U.S. government, activists, public figures or journalists” and that “TikTok could not monitor U.S. users in the way the article suggested.”

In light of the many national security issues that TikTok presents, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio recently introduced a new piece of bipartisan legislation that blocks the video-sharing media app from all consumer devices. This is a no-brainer given TikTok’s deep connection with the Chinese Communist Party. What’s really mind-boggling is that there are individuals in our own government who don’t think this app should be banned from the U.S.

“The company is desperate to tamp down growing bipartisan concerns about how it enables the Chinese Communist Party to use — and potentially weaponize — the data of American citizens,” Rubio commented on the legislation and threat that the company and it’s highly popular app present to everyday American citizens. “Every day it becomes more clear that we need to ban TikTok.”

The U.S. Senate recently passed the No TikTok on Government Devices Act, which was initially introduced by Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley a week ago.

“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a major security risk to the United States, and until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices,” Hawley proclaimed in a statement on Thursday. “States across the U.S. are banning TikTok on government devices. It’s time for Joe Biden and the Democrats to help do the same.”

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

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