August 2021, TikTok receives a complaint from a British user who reports that a man “undress and start touching each other” during the live broadcast, she did in the application. According to her, this is not the first time she has witnessed abuse.

To respond to him, TikTok employees are sharing the incident on an internal messaging and collaboration service called “The Lark”, as evidenced by documents obtained The newspaper “New York Times. That user’s personal information—her photo, country of residence, IP address, device, and credentials—is also hosted on this Slack-like platform.

His information is just a drop in the ocean of user data shared on Lark, a tool used by thousands of TikTok parent company ByteDance employees on a daily basis, including in China. In the documents received The newspaper “New York Times there are also driver’s licenses for US users, as well as potentially illegal content such as child pornography images. In many cases, this data was available in Lark’s “groups” – essentially discussion forums between employees – with several thousand members.

Worried TikTok Employees

This abundance of user data available on Lark has worried several TikTok employees, especially because ByteDance employees in China and other countries can easily access it, several internal reports and four employees, some of whom are still in the office, allege. Back in July 2021, several security officials warned ByteDance and TikTok executives about the risks associated with the platform.

“Should Beijing employees own groups that contain sensitive data” userWithasks a TikTok employee in an internal report from last July.

The presence of this data on Lark raises questions about how TikTok handles this information and respects the privacy of its users. It also shows how the video app is intertwined with ByteDance amid growing concern about the potential security risks posed by TikTok and its ties to China. On May 17, the Governor of Montana signed a law banning the use of