China-Based TikTok Employees Tracked U.S. Journalists, Citizens

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 05: In this photo illustration, the social media application logo, Tik Tok is displayed on the screen of an iPhone on March 05, 2019 in Paris, France. The social network broke the rules for the protection of children's online privacy (COPPA) and was fined $ 5.7 million. The fact TikTok criticized is quite serious in the United States, the platform, which currently has more than 500 million users worldwide, collected data that should not have asked minors. TikTok, also known as Douyin in China, is a media app for creating and sharing short videos. Owned by ByteDance, Tik Tok is a leading  video platform in Asia, United States, and other parts of the world. In 2018, the application gained popularity and became the most downloaded app in the U.S. in October 2018. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

At a glance

  • According to the NYT, the company has fired all four employees involved.
  • ByteDance officials said the targeted reporters included Emily Baker-White, Katharine Schwab, and Richard Nieva — all three of whom wrote for BuzzFeed and are now at Forbes — and Cristina Criddle of the Financial Times.
  • TikTok General Counsel Erich Andersen wrote in a second internal email shared with Forbes that internal audit groups investigating code of conduct violations are standard practices for companies.

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