China-owned TikTok denies it may use location info to trace U.S. customers

TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based tech large ByteDance, is utilized by over 1 billion individuals worldwide each month.

Artur Widak | Nurphoto | Getty Photos

TikTok on Friday denied that it used particular location knowledge to trace sure U.S. people, pushing again towards a Forbes report that alleged the Chinese language-owned video app was planning on finishing up such monitoring.

On Thursday, Forbes printed an article alleging TikTok, which is owned by Chinese language agency ByteDance, deliberate to make use of its app “to watch the private location of some particular Americans,” citing supplies considered by the publication.

Different allegations embrace:

  • The monitoring is carried out by TikTok mum or dad ByteDance’s Inner Audit and Threat Management division whose chief stories on to the CEO.
  • The division primarily conducts investigations into misconduct by staff nevertheless it additionally deliberate on an event to gather location knowledge a couple of U.S. citizen who by no means labored on the firm.

The Forbes article additionally stated that its unclear whether or not any knowledge was truly collected.

TikTok hit again on the article in a collection of tweets claiming it lacks “each rigor and journalistic integrity.”

TikTok stated Forbes “selected to not embrace the portion of our assertion that disproved the feasibility of its core allegation: TikTok doesn’t acquire exact GPS location info from US customers, that means TikTok couldn’t monitor US customers in the best way the article recommended.”

TikTok added that its app has by no means been used to “goal” any members of the U.S. authorities, activists, public figures or journalists.

Forbes was not instantly obtainable for remark when contacted by CNBC.

TikTok has had a testing couple of years within the U.S. ever since former President Donald Trump ordered the app to divest its U.S. business claiming it threatened nationwide safety. Washington has been involved that knowledge collected on U.S. residents by TikTok may get into the arms of the Chinese language authorities.

In July, TiKTok CEO Shou Zi Chew admitted that “staff outdoors the U.S., together with China-based staff, can have entry to TikTok U.S. person knowledge topic to a collection of sturdy cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based safety staff.”

However the firm stated on the time it was endeavor a significant initiative referred to as Undertaking Texas, which is meant to “totally safeguard person knowledge and U.S. nationwide safety pursuits.” This consists of storing all U.S. knowledge by default in Oracle’s cloud.

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