TikTok denies new report that it tracks Americans’ location data, targets individuals who use it to attack, and shares phone data with Chinese authorities. The statement comes from the company’s American headquarters, which is run out of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“Earlier today, TikTok deleted a long-running, false and defamatory report claiming that we collect location data on millions of users and use it to target them with marketing,” says CEO John Schappert in a statement.
The report, which TikTok’s parent company ByteDance published last week, claimed that its parent company ByteDance uses phone location data to target users with in-app messages, and then shares that data with Chinese authorities.
TikTok, which is the seventh most popular video app on the App Store, said it found the reporting “inaccurate and incorrect in several key areas,” like the number people were targeted. TikTok also said in the statement:
The new statement, however, does not address the report that China may use TikTok’s location data to target American users as it did during the 2016 Presidential campaign.
The timing of the announcement, coming only days after the Senate intelligence committee issued several reports that found China has used American companies like Facebook and Apple to spy on American citizens.
“We are reviewing the TikTok report with respect to the data collected, sharing and use,” says the company’s spokesperson, who did not answer the question of whether TikTok would take action against the individuals who made the claims, or the company that made the report. She also declined to say what the company does with the location data of TikTok users, or whether TikTok does any of the other things that are in the report.
TikTok’s statement comes days after The New York Times published a report describing an account from a Chinese internet user who claimed to have been able to hack into the company’s system and steal the phone location data of several million of their users. The data is then used to target users with in-app messaging and other marketing.
The report from TikTok’s American headquarters is just its latest move to try to refute the allegations in the report.