The FBI And DOJ Are Investigating ByteDance’s Use Of TikTok To Spy On Journalists
The FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating the events that led TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to use the app to surveil American journalists, including this reporter, Forbes reported, citing sources familiar with the departments’ actions. From the report: According to a source in position to know, the DOJ Criminal Division, Fraud Section, working alongside the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has subpoenaed information from ByteDance regarding efforts by its employees to access U.S. journalists’ location information or other private user data using the TikTok app. According to two sources, the FBI has been conducting interviews related to the surveillance. ByteDance’s use of the app to surveil U.S. citizens was first reported by Forbes in October, and confirmed by an internal company investigation in December.

“We have strongly condemned the actions of the individuals found to have been involved, and they are no longer employed at ByteDance. Our internal investigation is still ongoing, and we will cooperate with any official investigations when brought to us,” said ByteDance spokesperson Jennifer Banks. This is the first report of the federal government investigating ByteDance’s surveillance practices. It is not clear if the DOJ’s subpoena is connected to the FBI’s interviews. The DOJ and the FBI are both part of the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which this week demanded that ByteDance divest from TikTok or face a nationwide ban of the app. For the past several years, CFIUS has attempted to negotiate a national security contract with TikTok meant to mitigate concerns that it could be used by the Chinese government to access valuable private information about U.S. citizens or manipulate U.S. civic discourse.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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