The United States investigates the owner of TikTok for spying on journalists

The Justice Department of USA is investigating bytedancethe Chinese company that owns TikTokfor the possible espionage of US citizens, including journalists, as confirmed by internal sources to the magazine Forbes.

The investigation was opened late last year and appears to be linked to the admission the company made in December, when it confessed that some of its employees misused its access to data of users for keep tabs on two Forbes reporters who are dedicated to informing the popular platform of videos. With this tracking, they tried to discover who was leaking confidential information and documents from within the company. After the scandal was uncovered, ByteDance fired those responsible.

He fbi and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia are also involved in a federal criminal investigation that comes at a critical time for TikTok. This same week, the White House hardened his stance by demanding ByteDance’s Chinese owners sell their stake in the company and threatened to push for a prohibition total of the application if they didn’t. The US Congress is already processing a veto of the ‘app’.

This demand responds to the suspicions of Washington, which fears that the data of TikTok users could end up in the hands of the Government of Xi Jinping. Two of the employees involved in that breach of user privacy operated from China.

wave of restrictions

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Although not proven, the theory that TikTok is a Trojan horse from beijing to gather information and undermine the democratic institutions of its enemy countries has found its way among US allies. In recent weeks, countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Belgium and the European Commission have prohibited their officials from using the platform from their government mobile phones, a restriction that was previously applied by more than a dozen US states. Spain He has not yet chosen that path.

“We have strongly condemned the actions of the people involved, who no longer work at ByteDance. Our internal investigation is ongoing and we will cooperate with any official investigation that comes our way,” said Jennifer Banks, a spokeswoman for the Chinese company.