Justice Department Investigating TikTok's Chinese Parent Company for Possible Spying on U.S. Citizens

(MENAFN) The Justice Department is investigating ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of popular social media app TikTok, for possible spying on U.S. citizens, including journalists, according to confirmed reports from CBS News. The news of the probe comes as U.S. lawmakers have increased calls for action against the app over ByteDance's ties to China and national security concerns related to the collection of user data. The Biden administration is reportedly considering a nationwide ban on TikTok if ByteDance does not divest itself from the app.

The investigation was first reported by Emily Baker-White, a journalist for Forbes who claims to have had her TikTok data improperly accessed by ByteDance. The company had previously admitted in December that its employees had inappropriately obtained data from American TikTok users, including two journalists and a number of people connected to them, according to the New York Times. In response to the investigation, ByteDance stated that they have "strongly condemned the actions of the individuals found to have been involved, and they are no longer employed at ByteDance." The company also stated that their internal investigation is ongoing and that they will cooperate with any official investigations.

The federal government has already banned the use of the app on government-issued devices, and lawmakers have introduced legislation that could lead to a national ban on the platform. TikTok's CEO is scheduled to testify to House lawmakers next Thursday, indicating that the issue continues to be a matter of concern for U.S. officials.

The potential for spying and data breaches has become a significant concern for TikTok users and U.S. officials in recent years, particularly as ByteDance's ties to China have come under scrutiny. The investigation by the Justice Department is likely to intensify calls for action against the app and its parent company, as concerns about national security and user privacy continue to grow. The outcome of the investigation could have significant implications for the future of TikTok in the United States and beyond, as well as for the broader relationship between the U.S. and China.


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