Bermuda Post

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

ByteDance fired four employees who accessed US journalists' TikTok data

ByteDance fired four employees who accessed US journalists' TikTok data

ByteDance says it has fired four employees who accessed the data of several TikTok users located in the US, including several journalists.
According to The New York Times, an investigation conducted by an outside law firm found that the employees were trying to locate the sources of leaks to reporters. Two of the employees were in the US and two were in China, where ByteDance is based.

"ByteDance condemns this misguided plan that seriously violated the company's Code of Conduct," a ByteDance spokesperson told Engadget. "We have taken disciplinary measures and none of the individuals found to have directly participated in or overseen the misguided plan remain employed at ByteDance."

The company reportedly determined that members of a team responsible for monitoring employee conduct accessed the IP addresses and other data linked to the TikTok accounts of a reporter from BuzzFeed News and Cristina Criddle of the Financial Times. 

The employees are also said to have accessed the data of several people with ties to the journalists. Forbes claims that ByteDance tracked three of its reporters who previously worked for BuzzFeed News. All three of those publications have published reports on TikTok, including on its alleged ties to the Chinese government. 

“The misconduct of those individuals, who are no longer employed at ByteDance, was an egregious misuse of their authority to obtain access to user data. This misbehavior is unacceptable, and not in line with our efforts across TikTok to earn the trust of our users," ByteDance said in a statement to Variety. 

"We take data security incredibly seriously, and we will continue to enhance our access protocols, which have already been significantly improved and hardened since this incident took place.”

In October, Forbes reported that members of ByteDance’s Internal Audit and Risk Control department planned to use TikTok to track the locations of specific US citizens. ByteDance refuted those claims, but the report tracks with the results of the internal investigation. The company told the Times it has restructured that department and prevented it from accessing any US data.

“No matter what the cause or the outcome was, [the employees'] misguided investigation seriously violated the company’s Code of Conduct and is condemned by the company," ByteDance CEO Rubo Liang reportedly told employees in a memo. 

"We simply cannot take integrity risks that damage the trust of our users, employees, and stakeholders. We must exercise sound judgment in the choices we make and be sure they represent the principles we stand behind as a company.”

Word of the investigation and employees' dismissal comes amid various attempts to ban TikTok in the US. More than a dozen states, including Georgia and Texas, have blocked the app on government-owned devices. Earlier this month, a bipartisan bill sought to effectively ban TikTok from US consumer devices, along with other social apps that have ties to China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the Senate has passed a $1.7 trillion spending bill, which includes a measure that would ban TikTok on most devices issued by the federal government. 

There will be some exceptions for elected officials, congressional staff and law enforcement. The House is yet to vote on the omnibus bill but is expected to pass it on Thursday evening. 

According to the Times, ByteDance said the fired employees accessed historical data that it plans to delete from its own data servers in the US and Singapore. The company said in June that all of TikTok's TikTok user traffic is being routed to Oracle's servers. That's now the "default storage location of US user data," but at the time ByteDance continued to back up the data on its own servers.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Bermuda Post
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Dirty bomb fears as URANIUM is found in cargo at Heathrow
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
British PM Rishi Sunak pledges further action on strikes to 'protect lives'
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
×