The Morning After: TikTok's parent company reportedly under FBI investigation

It previously said it’d fired four employees involved in the scheme.

Mario Tama via Getty Images

In December, ByteDance confirmed it fired four employees who used TikTok to spy on the locations of two journalists. Now, Forbes reports the FBI and the Department of Justice have been investigating the incident. This investigation couldn’t come at a worse time, as ByteDance faces mounting pressure to sell its stake in TikTok.

Critics in Congress have previously raised questions about the app’s surveillance tactics, particularly in light of ByteDance’s acknowledgment that employees had inappropriately accessed US user data. "We have strongly condemned the actions of the individuals found to have been involved, and they are no longer employed at ByteDance,” a spokesperson said. “Our internal investigation is still ongoing, and we will cooperate with any official investigations when brought to us."

The incident late last year involved employees accessing the data of several TikTok users in the US, including journalists, to locate the sources of leaks. Forbes reported ByteDance tracked three of its reporters who previously worked for BuzzFeed News. These publications have all run reports on TikTok, with many focusing on alleged ties to the Chinese government.

– Mat Smith

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