According to media reports, the US Department of Justice and the FBI federal police are investigating possible spying on journalists against the Chinese parent company of the social media app Tiktok. It is about whether the Bytedance group violated the law when collecting data from Tiktok users, several US media reported, citing insiders. Journalists who reported on the tech industry were among the users in question, it said.
“The actions of individual employees”
A spokeswoman for Bytedance told US media that the group had sharply condemned the actions of individuals involved in the operations. The relevant employees no longer worked for the company, it said. An internal investigation is still ongoing and the company is prepared to cooperate with any investigations by the authorities.
Due to increasing concerns about data security, the pressure on Tiktok has been increasing in the US lately. This week, US media reported that the US government had demanded that Bytedance sell Tiktok. Otherwise, TikTok could face a ban in the United States. The call for a change in ownership of Tiktok reportedly came from the government body Cfius (Committee on Foreign Investment in the US), which scrutinizes foreign investments in the US.
In the US, both Republicans and US President Joe Biden’s Democrats have expressed concern that Chinese authorities and intelligence agencies could use Tiktok to gather information about Americans or influence them. Tiktok, with more than a billion users, is the only large online platform that is also successful in the West that does not come from the USA.
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