Claims have emerged suggesting that China might have infiltrated the TikTok profiles of Hong Kong activists, accessing personal information, as per allegations in a lawsuit filed by a former ByteDance executive. ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, categorically denies these assertions.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, an ex-ByteDance official, Yintao Yu, who previously led the US engineering team, alleges that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) improperly accessed user data of Hong Kong activists. TikTok's popularity, characterized by its short-form video content, extends to millions of users worldwide, including a sizeable contingent in Hong Kong.

These claims raise alarming questions about digital monitoring and possible power misuse. TikTok, which has previously weathered criticism over data privacy, is once again in the eye of the storm.

In a lawsuit filed by Yu, the former executive details grave accusations of a severe privacy violation. He alleges the CCP committee accessed IP addresses and SIM card IDs of TikTok users based in Hong Kong, including activists and protestors, back in 2018. Yu also asserts that the CCP had access to communication data of these Hong Kong TikTokers.

Interestingly, these allegations emerged during the same period as the trial of Pro-Democracy activists involved in the infamous 2014 Yellow Umbrella movement.

Yu further claims that ByteDance utilized its "god credential" to tap into the personal data of pro-democracy protestors, as reported by Bloomberg. However, the lawsuit is still in the court, and it remains to be seen whether these allegations hold water.

In response to these allegations, TikTok and ByteDance strongly refute any claims of data misuse. A spokesperson for ByteDance informed The Wall Street Journal that the company believes Yu's accusations are unfounded. ByteDance underlined its commitment to safeguarding user privacy and data.

Despite the company's denials, suspicions about TikTok's data privacy have long been a bone of contention for US legislators. They have repeatedly claimed that the CCP has access to American users' data.

In a notable move, the state of Montana banned the Chinese-owned social media platform in May last year, citing data privacy concerns. The ban has been challenged both by TikTok and its users through lawsuits filed against the state.