TikTok planned to access specific locations of U.S. users, who had no employment relations to the social-media app’s parent company.
- ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, planned to access certain U.S. citizen’s physical locations using the social-media app.
- The app’s internal audit team typically deals with misconduct within the company, but in a few cases has been told to use TikTok to monitor U.S. user locations that have never been affiliated with the company.
- It’s unclear whether TikTok actually collected the data about these American users; however, the plan was for a Beijing-based ByteDance team to obtain location data from the users’ devices, according to Forbes writer Emily Baker-White.
Why it’s news
Since its inception in 2016, TikTok has dominated the social-media world with its short-length videos.
The app boasts more than 1 billion monthly users, but many people are skeptical about the app’s security. TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance which makes many U.S. citizens concerned for security.
China’s connection to TikTok has been a topic of concern for a long time, but now it has been revealed that the app has been monitoring U.S. user’s locations bringing fears to life.
It has been revealed that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance planned to monitor certain citizen’s physical locations by using the app, although it is unclear if the company ever followed through with the plans.
TikTok spokesperson Maureen Shanahan said TikTok will collect locations and other data from users in order to curate a string of relevant ads and videos and to detect inauthentic behavior, but the plans the company has were to view the user’s locations and not to target ads or other material.
TikTok did not reveal whether the targeted users were members of the U.S. government, activists, public figures or journalists.
Other security issues
This isn’t TikTok’s first security issue. It was previously revealed that hundreds of TikTok and ByteDance employees have close ties to Chinese state media causing concern over the app to continue to grow and causing the U.S. to increase security protocols.