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TikTok denies app tracking report of US citizens

TikTok said it does not collect precise GPS location information from users in the US, which means it cannot be used to monitor people “in the way [Forbes] suggested.” The app’s communications team has tweeted that in response to a Forbes article claiming that a China-based team from its parent company, ByteDance, had planned to use the app to track “the personal location of some specific American citizens.” It’s unclear if information about those individuals had actually been collected.

Forbes reported that the team behind the monitoring project is part of ByteDance’s Internal Audit and Risk Control department. The division is typically in charge of looking into potential misconduct by current and former company employees. But the publication said that the group intended to use TikTok to collect data about the location of a US citizen that had never been employed by the company in at least two cases.

TikTok has fired back against the publication’s allegations, accusing Forbes of omitting the part of its statement where it said that it doesn’t collect precise GPS location. That portion “disproved the feasibility of the piece’s core allegation,”

It explained that it has never been used to target members of the US government, public figures, activists and journalists and that it doesn’t serve them content different from other users. In its report, Forbes wrote that TikTok “did not answer questions” about whether the internal audit team at ByteDance targeted members of those groups.

Writing by Omotola Oguneye