TikTok confirms employees improperly accessed journalists’ user data in hunt for leaks – Canada

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of popular video app TikTok, said Thursday some employees this summer improperly accessed TikTok user data of two U.S. journalists and were no longer employed by the company.

ByteDance said the employees accessed the data to try to identify potential connections between staff and the two journalists, who worked for BuzzFeed and the Financial Times, following leaks of company information.

After an investigation, conducted by an outside law firm, one ByteDance employee had resigned and three others were fired, the New York Times reported. Two of the workers were based in China and the other two were in the U.S.

The company shared the results of the investigation in an email to staff on Thursday. 

ByteDance’s disclosure could add to pressure TikTok is facing in Washington from lawmakers and the Biden administration over security concerns about U.S. user data.

Last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada’s electronic spy agency was also watching out for security threats from TikTok.

A black sign with white lettering next to a wooden fence, with a large office building in the background.
A view of TikTok’s office space in Culver City in west Los Angeles on Aug. 11, 2020. (Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images)

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