According to consistent media reports, the US Department of Justice and the Federal Police FBI are investigating the Chinese parent company of the social media app Tiktok for possible spying on journalists. It is about whether the group Bytedance had violated laws when collecting data from TikTok users, reported several US media, citing insiders. Among the users in question were journalists who reported on the tech industry, it said.
A spokeswoman for Bytedance told US media that the company had sharply condemned the actions of individuals involved in the proceedings. The corresponding employees no longer worked for the company, it said. An internal investigation is still ongoing and they are ready to cooperate with any investigations by the authorities.
Due to increasing concerns about data security, the pressure on Tiktok has been growing in the US lately. This week, US media reported that the US government had demanded that Bytedance sell Tiktok. Otherwise, Tiktok could be threatened with a ban in the US. The call for a change in ownership at Tiktok reportedly came from the Cfius (Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.), which is scrutinizing foreign investment in the US.
In the US, both Republicans and US President Joe Biden's Democrats are expressing concern that Chinese authorities and intelligence agencies could collect or influence information about Americans via Tiktok. Tiktok, with more than a billion users, is the only large and successful online platform in the West that does not originate from the USA.