“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.
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