I suspect that Chinese owned social media company TikTok is really in deep trouble here as Forbes is reporting that they are under investigation from the FBI and DOJ:
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, according to sources familiar with the departments’ actions.
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. TikTok did not respond to a request for comment.
The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the DOJ and the FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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 reporter behind this story is Emily Baker-White who broke a couple of stories linked above on TikTok spying on journalists last year. And she herself was tracked by TikTok. All of this is highly problematic to TikTok and I am of the opinion that this will lead to an outright ban sooner rather than later. And I am talking about very soon. As in weeks and not months.
That has to be TikTok’s greatest nightmare. Let’s see what they, or their Chinese Communist Party overlords can do about it.