An internal investigation at TikTok parent company ByteDance discovered that several employees accessed the TikTok data of at least two US journalists and a “small number” of other people connected to them. The data obtained included the reporters’ IP addresses, which were used to determine whether they were physically near TikTok employees suspected of leaking information to the press.
Rubo Liang, CEO of Beijing-based ByteDance, said in an email to employees that he was “deeply disappointed” and that “the public trust that we have spent huge efforts building is going to be significantly undermined by the misconduct of a few individuals.” Shou Chew, TikTok’s CEO who reports to Liang, described the incident as “the poorly conceived acts of a few people” in another internal email. In response, TikTok general counsel Erich Andersen said in a third email that the company’s Internet Audit and Risk team is being restructured. All three memos can be found at the bottom of this story.