ByteDance says it is hitting four employees with gross misconduct charges and fired them all from TikTok. According to the company, the employees were accessing user data from two Journalists in the United States without getting consent.

The company points out two of the employees were from China and two were from the United States. One of the journalists was from the Financial Times and the other was from BuzzFeed News.

TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew spoke to employees in an email and said that such “misconduct is not at all representative of what I know our company’s principles to be.”

He added the company “will continue to enhance these access protocols, which have already been significantly improved and hardened since this initiative took place.”

ByteDance points out that the employees were purposely targeting the journalist to spy on them.

In August, I reported on how some ByteDance employees were found working for the Chinese government.

History

ByteDance has long been accused of working with the Chinese government and supplying user data from people around the world. According to Forbes, scanning the LinkedIn profiles of people working for TikTok shows that 300 of them previously worked with Chinese state media outlets.

Last week, a bill to ban TikTok from all US government devices moved closer to reality.

Specifically, a new bill was approved Wednesday that will prevent federal employees from installing and/or using TikTok on government-owned hardware. Before it becomes law, The bill (PDF) must now get approval by the US House of Representatives.

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