The FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, for attempting to access American journalists' location information and other private user data, according to Forbes.
Forbes attributed the information to sources familiar with the departments' actions.
One of those sources says information from ByteDance regarding those efforts have been subpoenaed by the DOJ Criminal Division, Fraud Section, working with the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. And the FBI has been conducting interviews related to the surveillance.
Use of the app by ByteDance to spy on U.S. citizens was reported by Forbes in October.
"We have strongly condemned the actions of the individuals found to have been involved, and they are no longer employed at ByteDance," ByteDance spokesperson Jennifer Banks said. "Our internal investigation is still ongoing, and we will cooperate with any official investigations when brought to us."
All parties involved did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The FBI declined to comment.
The U.S. government has told ByteDance to sell its shares in the blockbuster TikTok app or face a national ban, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
Western powers, including the European Union and the U.S., have been taking an increasingly tough approach to the app, citing fears user data could be used or abused by Chinese officials, according to AFP.
TikTok claims to have more than a billion users worldwide including over 100 million in the U.S.
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