TikTok parent company Bytedance has confirmed that an internal department has been actively spying on journalists from Forbes. The company reportedly conducted investigations in at least three cases.
Bytedance spies on Forbes journalists
TikTok parent company Bytedance allegedly spied on Forbes journalists to find out if they met with company employees.
What had long been rumored on the Internet has now been confirmed by the company to Forbes. An internal investigation revealed that Bytedance employees spied on several journalists and tapped user data and IP addresses.
In the course of the covert surveillance campaign, several journalists who had been reporting on the company and TikTok with inside information for months had been monitored. The internal investigation department accessed the data, Bytedance has now confirmed.
As a result, the department’s senior manager, Chris Lepitak, was fired. Song Ye, the senior manager in charge, who was based in China, was also dismissed. Bytedance CEO Rubo Liang forwarded the internal email to Forbes and, according to his own statements, only recently learned of the investigation.
Specifically, it involves user data on journalists Emily Baker-White, Katharine Schwab, and Richard Nieva, who previously worked for BuzzFeed News and had reported on Bytedance.
The internal investigation under the code name Project Raven was initiated in the summer of 2022 after BuzzFeed News reported that TikTok had access to all user data of customers from the USA.