TikTok is strongly pushing back towards a Forbes report alleging that its father or mother firm needed to use the video app to “monitor the personal location of some specific American citizens.” In a series of tweets, TikTok accused Forbes of leaving off a very important half of its assertion, which says that “TikTok does not collect precise GPS location information from US users,” regardless of the article’s claims that its father or mother firm ByteDance thought of acquiring “location data from U.S. users’ devices.”
The article, posted earlier on Thursday, mentioned that ByteDance’s Internal Audit crew — normally tasked with maintaining a tally of those that presently work for the corporate or who’ve labored for the corporate prior to now — deliberate on surveilling at least two Americans who “had never had an employment relationship with the company.” Forbes says its report was based mostly on supplies it reviewed however didn’t embrace particulars about who was doubtlessly going to be tracked or why ByteDance was planning on monitoring them, claiming that doing so might put its sources at danger.
Forbes’ article says that TikTok and ByteDance didn’t reply questions on whether or not the interior audit crew had ever focused US politicians, activists, public figures, or journalists, and in contrast the alleged plan to Uber’s “greyball” program that focused specific customers, in some instances serving regulators a deceptive model of the app.
In its thread, TikTok says the app has “never been used to ‘target’” anybody in these teams and that it doesn’t change the in-app expertise for these folks. (It’s value noting that’s not an absolute denial of any consideration for specific focusing on or that a request was ever made — TikTok’s solely saying its app has not been used for that objective.) The firm says that the audit team “follows set policies and processes to acquire information they need to conduct internal investigations.”
It additionally claims that anybody caught doing what Forbes alleged within the article can be fired.
The safety of TikTok knowledge has been a broadly-cited concern concerning the platform for years, particularly for US lawmakers involved concerning the Chinese authorities’s entry to knowledge about US citizens. After a June report from BuzzFeed News alleged that US person knowledge had been accessed from China, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew wrote a letter to Republican critics addressing how the corporate planned to keep American user data separate from ByteDance.