A Former TikTok Employee Claims He Was Instructed To Send US Data To China

(NationalUSNews.com) — According to a former TikTok employee with a senior position in the social media company, TikTok instructed him to send spreadsheets containing United States users’ data to China every two weeks. Evan Turner, a former senior data scientist for TikTok, made the damning accusation during an interview with Fortune and said that he had to send U.S. data to TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance. Bytdance is based in Bejing, China, and it allegedly received data about TikTok users’ email addresses, IP addresses, and personal information.

Turner’s claims come just months after TikTok publicly stated it operates separately from its Beijing-based parent company. Turner contradicted TikTok’s statements and said that he worked on a lengthy project that forced him to send spreadsheets of TikTok user data to Bytedance, and the former employee claimed that other Americans working for the social media company also participated in the data-sharing project. TikTok assured American lawmakers that it would stop sharing user data with China in 2022, a claim now refuted by Turner.

TikTok assured members of Congress that it would institute a new project, Project Texas, which would establish data centers within the United States. The primary goal of Project Texas was to limit the need for TikTok to share sensitive user data with its data centers in China and prevent international data-sharing between the social media giant and its Bejing-based parent company. Turner said that due to Project Texas, Bytedance switched his supervisor from an employee in Beijing to a new manager in Seattle. Despite the change in management, TikTok’s human resources department told Turner he’d still communicate with the Bytedance executive rather than his new official supervisor.

Turner’s statements raised concerns for United States intelligence officials, who believe lawmakers should ban TikTok from the United States due to its heavy ties with Beijing. Among the officials expressing concern is Anton Dahbura from the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute, who said that the data-sharing could target individuals and damage their lives. Dahbura also said that data-sharing practices should concern people due to their implications for China and how it interacts with American social media users.

Turner’s comments come just months after TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, testified before Congress about the social media platform’s potential connections to China. Despite the CEO’s claims that TikTok operated independently from the Chinese government, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to ban the social media platform from the United States. President Joe Biden addressed the effort to ban TikTok, stating he’d sign it into law if the Senate approves it.

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