TikTok Data Privacy: Does China Have Access To American Users’ Data?
Since the inception of video-sharing social media apps, data privacy has been a keen concern of all leaders in the U.S. TikTok has been widely accused of sharing user data with countries outside the United States. While TikTok has been making repeated statements that no foreign country has access to the data of American users, a recent update rings the warning bell. Leaked audio of TikTok’s internal management reveals that the data of U.S.-based TikTok users is widely accessed in China.
Responding to all the previous accusations, TikTok has asserted that all of the user data of TikTok are stored in the US. The social media app has made it clear that it works with its parent company Byte Dance for data privacy. Since the head office of Byte Dance is located in the US, the user data of TikTok is also stored in the US.
But these remarks of TikTok have been taken with a pinch of salt by American leadership. The former president of the US, Donald Trump, is the most apparent example. He repeatedly accused TikTok of data theft and had taken strict initiatives against the social media platform. Banning TikTok throughout the US was the most severe among them.
A Leaked Tape Reveals That China Has Access to the User Data of American TikTok Users
With all the notorious past of TikTok, US officials are still worried about the data theft of TikTok. To lower the possibilities of China accessing the user data of American TikTok users, TikTok has taken certain initiatives. It has made certain restrictions to its terms and conditions to ensure that the data is only accessed inside the US. Nonetheless, none of them are effective enough.
Amid this data security controversy of TikTok, the latest recording of TikTok’s employees show something more controversial. However, the recording is analyzed by Buzz Feed News. It shows that 14 different employees of TikTok make the statement that Chinese engineers have access to the user data of American TikTokers.
TikTok’s employees make the confession that there are some data that they can not access. For that, they have to turn to their Chinese coworkers. According to the tape, the American staff does not have an understanding of the data flow. Instead, the Chinese Byte Dance employees do have access to those data. Furthermore, the tape reveals the personal information of the American TikTok users. Thus, birthdays, phone numbers, and addresses are accessed by these Chinese engineers.
“The Chinese have access to everything,” says one TikTok employee in the tape. Similarly, other TikTok employees make comments like: “Chinese are the masterminds, and everything that happens here is seen in China.” Nonetheless, it is pertinent to mention here that some of these employees mention their names and designations which can be clearly heard in the tape. For security purposes, Buzz Feed has decided not to reveal their names.
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