TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance said on Thursday that a small group of employees improperly obtained personal data from US TikTok users and are no longer employed by ByteDance.of new york times It reports that some of the users whose data was accessed included two journalists from BuzzFeed News and the Financial Times.
The information came after an internal investigation by a third-party law firm, ByteDance legal counsel Erich Andersen said in an email to company employees seen by the Times.Shortly after the report, Forbes published the story ByteDance is also tracking the reporters, three of whom claim to have previously worked for BuzzFeed News.
Four ByteDance employees, two in the United States and two in China, were reportedly held responsible for the security breach, aimed at finding the source of the alleged media leak. they were all fired.
In response to an inquiry from BuzzFeed News, a TikTok spokesperson said, “The misconduct of certain individuals who were no longer employed by ByteDance was an abuse of their powers to gain access to user data. This misconduct is unacceptable. We take data security very seriously and access has already been significantly improved and enhanced since this incident occurred. We will continue to strengthen the protocol.”
A ByteDance spokesperson condemned the actions of an employee who “committed a serious violation of the company’s code of conduct.” “We are taking disciplinary action, and individuals found to have directly participated in or supervised misguided planning continue to be employed at ByteDance,” the spokesperson added.
The company’s chief executive, Lubo Liang, addressed the internal report’s findings in an email to employees on Thursday. “I was very disappointed when I was informed of the situation…and I am sure you feel the same way,” Liang wrote. The public confidence in the country would be greatly damaged by the wrongdoing of a few individuals.”
BuzzFeed news reported security concerns Surrounding TikTok in the past year.In June, BuzzFeed News reported that private data on TikTok users in the Repeat access from ChinaThis report is based on audio from over 80 ByteDance internal meetings obtained by BuzzFeed News.
“We are deeply concerned by reports that ByteDance employees have accessed the personal user data of BuzzFeed News reporters, blatantly disregarding the privacy and rights of journalists as well as TikTok users,” said BuzzFeed News. spokeswoman Lizzie Grams said Thursday, “Following a series of reports by BuzzFeed News, major issues within the parent company have emerged, ranging from employees accessing data on American users from China to the ByteDance push attempt. It’s even more troubling that this happened in the wake of the revelation. Pro-Chinese message to Americans“
A spokesperson for the Financial Times said, “Spying on reporters, interfering with their work, or threatening sources is completely unacceptable. We will fully investigate.”