As per the latest BuzzFeed article, leaked audio from more than 80 internal TikTok meetings reveals that Engineers working for ByteDance (TikTok’s parent business) in China have the ability to access and observe everything related to US user data.
US TikTok staff do not have access to US user data; instead, it will be requested and done by a Chinese TikTok Engineer known as “Master Admin.”
The audio leak reveals that access was possible from September 2021 until January 2022. However, the business declared in a statement made in 2019 that:
“TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future,”
TikTok spokesperson Maureen Shanahan responded to the released audio by saying:
“We know we’re among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data. That’s why we hire experts in their fields, continually work to validate our security standards, and bring in reputable, independent third parties to test our defenses.”
TikTok also stated on the same day that they had migrated to Oracle Cloud to manage US data, which implies that no Bytedance Engineers would have access. Others, though, are still doubtful.