ByteDance finds four employees had accessed US journalists' TikTok data; fires them

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Slapping the charges of gross misconduct on four of its employees, ByteDance, the parent company of the video app TikTok has fired them all. The company found the employees guilty of accessing the user data of two US journalists secretly and without seeking their consent. Among the four people fired, two were in the United States and two in China. Of the two reporters whose data was accessed, one belonged to BuzzFeed News and the other works with Financial Times.

A spokesperson from ByteDance disclosed that it was a deliberate effort by its former employees to spy on reporters by looking for their IP addresses in an attempt to investigate leaks of company information and whether they were present at the same location as they had suspected while leaking it. This action was in complete violation of the company's policies and as such, the necessary step was taken.

The latest disclosure by the company also adds to its ongoing worries. Recently, the Chinese app was under the radar of lawmakers in Washington and the Biden administration over security concerns about U.S. user data.

Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States is set to pass legislation this week that seeks to ban U.S. government employees from downloading or using TikTok on their government-owned devices. The lawmakers continue to see it as a threat to U.S. national security. Even a dozen governors have restricted state employees from running the video hosting service on state-owned devices.

Source: NewYork Times (Paywall) via: Reuters

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