If you thought TikTok wouldn’t debase itself any further in how it chooses to spy on its users, you thought wrong.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that TikTok collected the personal information of users who watched “gay content” on the platform, which in turn led to complaints from employees. While many social media platforms “track” the data of their users for different purposes, TikTok’s tracking based on sexuality is targeted.
“[TikTok] cataloged videos users watched under topics such as LGBT, short for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” The Journal reported. “The collection of information, which could be viewed by some employees through a dashboard, included a set of affiliated users who watched those videos, and their ID numbers … .”
Talk about terrifying. Company employees reportedly raised concerns that employees could share the data with “outside parties” or use it to “blackmail users.” Their concerns were apparently ignored.
Alarmingly, former TikTok employees reported that employees in China had access to the sensitive data and even controlled who else had access to the data.
Unsurprisingly, TikTok denied any wrongdoing.
“Safeguarding the privacy and security of people who use TikTok is one of our top priorities,” the company said in a statement obtained by The Journal.
But this of course is not the first time TikTok has been caught nefariously exploiting user data.
One former employee-turned-whistleblower reportedly witnessed “China-based engineers flipping over to non-China datasets and creating scheduled tasks to backup, aggregate, and analyze data.”
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen regarding the claims and called on Congress to take immediate action.
“This whistleblower’s allegations are deeply concerning. They also appear to contradict public statements made by TikTok and ByteDance executives,” Hawley wrote in reference to the app’s ties to the CCP. “The whistleblower describes TikTok’s access controls on U.S. data as 'superficial' at best, where they exist at all. As an example, he describes how TikTok and ByteDance employees — including members of the Chinese Communist Party known to be on ByteDance’s payroll — can switch between Chinese and U.S. data with nothing more than the click of a button...”
Commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission Brendan Carr echoed the concerns.
Carr told MRC Free Speech America during an exclusive March interview that “the tide is moving out on TikTok whether it’s in Europe or the U.S. and there’s really no amount of prevaricating and gaslighting that they can do at this point I think to avert that.”
He also praised states that banned the app on government-owned devices and encouraged a national ban
“[W]e can’t simply acknowledge the problem and not take the appropriate action. That’s why it’s important for the federal government, for the Treasury Department to take step two, which is to move forward with either a nationwide ban of TikTok or some type of solution that involves a complete decoupling of TikTok from a corporate structure from any entity that is beholden to the CCP.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact TikTok via email at email@example.com or by mail at 10010 Venice Blvd #301, Culver City, CA 90232 and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.