Audio from over 80 meetings at ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, was released last week and points to a much greater ability of Chinese-based employees to access US members’ private information. The exposure for nonpublic US user data occurred between September 2021 and January 2022.
Statements in the recordings reference an unidentified “Master Admin” engineer based in China with “access to everything.” Another meeting features a Trust and Safety Department representative commenting, “everything is seen in China.”
TikTok previously faced scrutiny for privacy concerns under former President Trump. In 2020, he pressured ByteDance to sell TikTok and attempted to halt downloads of the app by executive order, a move blocked by the courts.
TikTok spokesperson Maureen Shanahan addressed data privacy concerns stating, “We know we’re among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data.”