TikTok denies report that it plans to track US citizens

  • Earlier this week Forbes published a report where it alleges that TikTok plans to use its app to monitor the location of some US citizens.
  • The social media platform says that the publication chose to omit part of its official statement on the matter.
  • TikTok adds that anyone caught doing what Forbes alleges would be fired from the company.

This week Forbes published a report (paywall) regarding TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, where it alleges that the social media platform is being used to track the location of some citizens in the United States.

Naturally, TikTok is disputing the allegations, taking to Twitter of all places to share its side of the story.

In a thread of tweets, the company said that the Forbes report crucially left out part of its statement as regards the collection of user data.

“Forbes chose not to include the portion of our statement that disproved the feasibility of its core allegation: TikTok does not collect precise GPS location information from US users, meaning TikTok could not monitor US users in the way the article suggested,” the company’s Comms Twitter account explained.

“TikTok has never been used to ‘target’ any members of the U.S. government, activists, public figures or journalists, nor do we serve them a different content experience than other users,” it added.

While the platform is claiming its innocence in this regard, the fact that ‘target’ is in quotation marks in the aforementioned thread and nothing else is does raise a few more questions.

The company goes on to explain that some information is indeed collected, but not for the nefarious methods that Forbes alleges, instead being leveraged by its internal audit team in specific instances.

“Our Internal Audit team follows set policies and processes to acquire information they need to conduct internal investigations of violations of the company codes of conduct, as is standard in companies across our industry,” a consequent tweet points out.

Without complete transparency on the matter, or indeed the ability for an impartial third party to view its internal workings, this latest allegation regarding TikTok cannot fully be proven or disproven.


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