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This is why a bunch of lawmakers are asking about TikTok

5. 9 Republican senators led by Marsha Blackburn additionally despatched a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and demanded solutions to US customers' privateness questions. TikTok responded to the letter a couple of days later and admitted that ByteDance staff in China might entry US customers' delicate info. However the firm stated it manages entry to this info by way of a US-based safety crew. He didn't disclose additional particulars about this entry.

6. In response to the investigation, TikTok spokeswoman Maureen Shanahan informed BuzzFeed Information, “We all know we're among the many most scrutinized platforms from a safety perspective, and we goal to take away any doubt safety of U.S. consumer knowledge. That is why we have interaction consultants of their fields, frequently work to validate our safety requirements, and interact unbiased, respected third events to check our defenses.”

seven. ByteDance used a preferred information app it owned known as TopBuzz, which is now defunct, to focus on pro-China content material, a second BuzzFeed Information investigation revealed earlier this week confirmed. TopBuzz additionally censored articles concerning the Chinese language authorities, former staff claimed.

8. Three former staff informed BuzzFeed Information that TopBuzz workers generally pin pro-China content material to the highest of the app. Workers additionally had to supply proof to ByteDance that they had been inserting this content material within the app by way of screenshots. “Let's be actual, it wasn't one thing you might say no to,” a supply stated. “If they do not, somebody will go to jail.”

9. Workers additionally claimed they had been requested to take away protection of the Hong Kong protests and a few content material that brazenly depicted LGBTQ individuals. The corporate additionally eliminated all articles about Chinese language President Xi Jinping and any content material evaluating him to Winnie the Pooh, one thing the Chinese language authorities has a historical past of censoring.

ten. Workers stated TopBuzz illegally extracted and republished content material from mainstream newspapers and magazines, together with The New York Instances, with out its permission, in addition to movies from YouTube. A New York Instances spokesperson informed BuzzFeed Information that the corporate despatched TopBuzz a stop and desist order from reposting content material with out permission. TopBuzz additionally posted low-quality content material to spice up engagement, together with misinformation.

11. Six former staff informed BuzzFeed Information that the corporate additionally makes use of the mined knowledge to coach its algorithms to write down information mechanically with out human reporters.

12. ByteDance spokesperson Billy Kenny informed BuzzFeed Information in an e-mail: “The declare that TopBuzz – which was discontinued years in the past – pinned pro-government content material Chinese language on the high of the app or labored to put it up for sale is pretend and ridiculous TopBuzz had over two dozen distinguished US and UK media publishing companions, together with BuzzFeed, who clearly discovered nothing concern when performing due diligence. In response, a BuzzFeed Inc. spokesperson stated, “BuzzFeed, Inc. reaches its viewers on all main platforms – together with these owned by ByteDance – whereas persevering with to report on these platforms with rigorous journalism.

13. The second investigation drew extra livid reactions from lawmakers.


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