A series of Forbes journalists was tracked by TikTok parent company ByteDance during the course of this covert surveillance attempt to uncover the source of leaks within the company.
During the summer of 2016, BuzzFeed News published a story that revealed Chinese workers at ByteDance frequently accessing U.S. user data, which Baker-White describes as Project Raven. The investigation was initiated in response to the article, which was based on more than 80 hours of audio recordings of internal TikTok meetings.
According to Forbes journalists content officer Randall Lane, “This is a clear attack on the concept of a free press and its crucial role in the functioning of a democratic society.” A spokesman for ByteDance says, “We are waiting for a straight answer from ByteDance, as this raises serious concerns about their use of the data they collect from TikTok users.”
After this report was published, a spokesperson for TikTok, Hilary McQuaide, issued a statement stating that “certain employees, who are no longer working at ByteDance, engaged in flagrant misuse of their power in order to get access to customer information.”. In spite of TikTok’s efforts to win our customers’ trust, this behavior is inappropriate and inconsistent with that.
“This new development reinforces serious concerns that the social media platform has allowed TikTok engineers and executives in the People’s Republic of China to repeatedly access private data of U.S.