The Division of Justice (DOJ) is investigating the Chinese business that owns the video-sharing platform TikTok for possible surveillance of journalists covering the technologies, various media outlets reported Friday.

3 folks familiar with the matter told The New York Occasions that the DOJ is also investigating the company’s surveillance of American citizens. The Occasions reported that the investigation appeared to be linked to an admission by BiteDance, which owns TikTok, in December that some of its workers improperly gained access to some user information of US citizens.

Internal emails obtained by the Occasions show that the business performed an internal investigation and located that workers had gained access to information from the two journalists and folks connected to them. Forbes reported immediately after the Occasions report that two additional journalists operating for the property had been followed.

Workers worked as aspect of a monitoring plan to attempt to obtain the supply of the leak. All 4 workers who participated in acquiring the information had been fired.

A individual familiar with the predicament told The Occasions in a report Friday that the Justice Department’s criminal division, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s workplace for the Eastern District of Virginia are conducting the investigation.

A DOJ spokesman told The Occasions they had no comment on the report.

A TikTok spokesperson referred the Occasions to BiteDance for queries.

A spokesperson for BiteDance told The Hill that the business condemns in the “strongest attainable terms” the actions of workers who obtained information and facts about journalists and no longer perform for the business.

“Our internal investigation is nevertheless ongoing, and we will cooperate with any official inquiries when they are brought to our focus,” they stated.

Forbes also confirmed the investigation just before the Occasions report.

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The Biden administration has not too long ago stepped up stress on TikTok following criticism of the app more than issues about the safety of its American users’ information on a platform run by a Chinese business. Critics have raised issues that the information could be obtained by the Chinese government, though TikTok insists that the information has not been compromised.

The administration told BiteDance it had to sell its stake in TikTok or the app could be banned in the nation. The app has been banned from devices owned by the federal government and additional than two dozen state governments amid backlash.

A bill to entirely ban the app in the nation has also been introduced in Congress.

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By Editor