TikTok Confirms Employees in China Can Access American User Data

TikTok video app
AFP/Getty

The Chinese-owned video app TikTok has confirmed that employees within the communist dictatorship can access the personal data of U.S. users.

Bloomberg reports that the Chinese-owned viral video app TikTok has revealed that certain company employees based in China have access to the personal information of American users. The company’s admission came in a letter to nine U.S. senators who accused TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance Ltd., of monitoring U.S. citizens.

Shouzi Chew, chief executive officer of TikTok Inc. (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg/Getty)

TikTok influencers Florin Vitan (L) and Alessia Lanza perform a video (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

The senators asked TikTok whether China-based employees have access to U.S. users’ data, what role those employees play in developing TikTok’s algorithm, and if any of that information was shared with the Chinese government.

The CEO of TikTok parent company ByteDance, Shou Zi Chew, said in a June 30 letter that China-based employees who clear a number of internal security protocols can access certain information on U.S.-based TikTok users including public videos and comments. Chew claims that none of this information is shared with the Chinese government and is subject to “robust cybersecurity controls.”

The company claims that it is working on strengthening data security around sensitive information, including any that is defined as “protected” by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS). This new cybersecurity effort is called “Project Texas” and includes physically storing U.S. information in data centers on U.S. servers owned by Oracle Corp.

“TikTok’s response confirms our fears about the CCP’s influence in the company were well founded,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Bloomberg on Friday. “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.”

Read more at Bloomberg here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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