American politics has resumed talking about a ban on TikTok from the United States, again accusing the application of being too closely linked to China. Well, an internal investigation by ByteDance, the “parent company” of TikTok, seems unexpectedly justify Washington’s fearsespecially on the data of social users.
The New York Timesin fact, explains that an internal investigation of ByteDance has discovered that some employees of the company had access to personal data of two American journalists and a “small number” of other people close to them. Among the data to which the employees had access were the IP addresses of the journalists themselves, which therefore made it possible to trace their physical location.
According to the internal report, TikTok would not have been used for espionage or to “keep an eye” on American users, as the United States fears, but data from IPs of journalists were cross-referenced with those of employees in order to discover the “moles” who in recent months have transmitted confidential information to the press. Evidently, this attempt also ended in a stalemate, because the information brought to light by the NYT comes from a ByteDance internal leak.
In an internal email, however, ByteDance CEO Rubo Liang said “deeply disappointed” for the factexplaining that “the public is confident that we have made great efforts to build a safe environment, which however is undermined by the wrong behaviors of some individuals”. In other words, it seems that TikTok’s anti-mole operation has not been approved by the “upper floors” of the Chinese social media giant.
The revelations, however, lend TikTok’s side to American politics, which in these days is questioning whether or not a definitive ban for the platform in the United States. The journalists involved, however, would be well more than two, as established by ByteDance: on the contrary, among the figures traced we find a reporter from BuzzFeed, three from Forbes and at least one from the Financial Times.