TikTok spied on journalist through an account in her cat’s name

TikTok is getting a bad reputation for unethical behavior. In the past the administrators have been criticised for allowing animal abuse videos in large numbers and making a list of gay users. And now spying on a female British journalist via an account under her cat’s name. Cheap behavior which has been admitted. There are a lot of TikTok pages in the name of cats! It is a very popular pastime.

TikTok could be banned for spying through their app
TikTok could be banned for spying through their app. Image in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

TikTok’s parent company is ByteDance, a Chinese company based in China and also in the US. The Times reports that a small number of employees (according to ByteDance) accessed the personal information of Christina Criddle, a technology reporter at the Financial Times. Their intention was to discover her sources as she’d been reporting that TikTok staff were unhappy with some of the practices at the business.

They also report that ByteDance staff tracked an American reporter who used to work at BuzzFeed and now works at Forbes.

The problem first came to light last year. At that time ByteDance denied it. TikTok investigated and fired a small number of staff for unauthorised access of data.

Bite dance said:

“We deeply regret this incident. The misconduct of a small number of individuals who misused their authority to obtain access to user data, while pursuing an investigation of employees who leaked confidential information, was a violation of the company’s code of conduct. As a result, four individuals involved in the misconduct are no longer with the company. We can only earn the public’s trust if we live and breathe our principles, which is why we are committed to ensuring this never happens again. We value our relationship with the Financial Times and Ms Criddle who has continued to engage with us professionally, and we regret any harm to that relationship.”

Criddle told the BBC:

It was just really chilling and horrible and, personally, quite violating. It was at my family home with my teenage sister, teenage cousins – and they all use TikTok all of the time. They were like, “Whoa, should we be worried?”

She remarked that the really chilling thing was that all she was doing is trying to do her job. She found out about the spying by TikTok when a press officer from the company (Financial Times) called to highlight a New York Times piece about the investigation.

She has asked TikTok questions and they have refused to reply. She advises that people who are worried about their security should remove the application from their phone.

The FBI and Justice Department in the US are investigating. There is a campaign in the US to have TikTok banned.

The chief executive of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, was challenged at a congressional hearing on whether his company had ever spied on US citizens and he replied: “I don’t think spying is the right way to describe it.”

TikTok also kept a list of users who watched gay content on their website. The list was accessible by TikTok employees in the US and China. Its existence was controversial within TikTok.

It was feared that the list could be used for blackmail and in any case, it is clearly unethical to make this kind of list about sexual orientation. There are also concerns that they could be targeted with advertising.

US Congress has proposed that TikTok should be banned entirely. One state, Montana, is introducing legislation to prevent the app being downloaded.

The current President of the United States and his administration want the app to be sold by ByteDance or they have threatened a ban. Although a ban would be challenged in the US courts because it would limit freedom of speech protected under the constitution.

In other countries, governments have stopped employees using TikTok on official devices as reported by The Times (thanks).

TikToker dyes her dog bright red for good reasons, she says. Is it safe?

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2 thoughts on “TikTok spied on journalist through an account in her cat’s name”

    • Are a Chinese person!?? Looks like it. You’re not a ByteDance employee, are you? LOL. Or an apologist for TikTok’s behavior which is poor. I will accept the photo-editing as a compliment as clearly I got to you sufficiently for you to take the time to make the image.

      Reply

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