In a TikTok update that should surprise no one, a recent Forbes report unveiled the Chinese government-tied app stores the personal financial information of creators on servers located in communist China, despite its repeated claims to the contrary.
TikTok reportedly collected social security and tax identification numbers from content creators only to funnel the data overseas where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reigns supreme. Content creators are usually required to provide such information to get paid, but this report confirms that TikTok once again sacrificed the privacy of its own users to enrich the profits of its parent company, ByteDance, which were at a record high last year.
Forbes reported: “[A] trove of records obtained by Forbes from multiple sources across different parts of the company reveals that highly sensitive financial and personal information about those prized users and third parties has been stored in China.”
TikTok has insisted that its user data is stored in the United States and handled with the utmost care, but this report of data exploitation once again raises questions about whether unauthorized employees, particularly those with ties to the CCP, have access to information the company claims is protected in what would be an unprecedented national security risk.
In March, one former employee-turned-whistleblower dropped a bombshell, suggesting TikTok lied about its so-called security measures. The whistleblower also asserted to have witnessed “China-based engineers flipping over to non-China datasets and creating scheduled tasks to backup, aggregate, and analyze data.”
“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…”
Meanwhile, Bryan Cunningham, a former White House and CIA national security lawyer, reportedly told Forbes that the compromised tax records are some of the most sensitive data the CCP could have access to. “Even if TikTok was not a subsidiary of a Chinese company, this would be pretty alarming IT security malpractice,” Cunningham reportedly told Forbes.
He added that the data sharing is unacceptable, regardless of whether the company claims to have a legitimate reason.
"It could be just bad IT practice, it could be they felt like they had a legitimate business need,” he said. “But whatever the nuance of that turns out to be… if you store information in the [People’s Republic of China], you better assume that the intelligence services can have it if they want it. They may not target you, but boy, on the face of it, it's highly questionable.”
Meanwhile, the anti-free speech app’s troubles appear to be insurmountable amid calls for a national ban.
Commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission Brendan Carr told MRC Free Speech America in 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.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact TikTok via email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.