A China-based team from TikTok’s parent company apparently planned to use the app to track the personal location of certain American citizens, further raising security concerns about the company’s relationship with China.
ByteDance’s Internal Audit and Risk Control team had the ability to track a user’s personal location through the TikTok app itself, according to documents reviewed by Forbes. While the team primarily dealt with misconduct by current and former employees, it tracked the location of at least two people who had no connection to ByteDance.
TikTok claimed that the information was to be used to “help show relevant content and ads to users, comply with applicable laws, and detect and prevent fraud and inauthentic behavior,” but the documents indicated that the internal audit team intended to use the data to surveil select U.S. residents.
The Internal Audit and Risk Control team typically runs regular audits of employees to determine if there are any conflicts of interest or misuse of resources. They have also done so at the behest of senior executives, including TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew.