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TikTok tracks back-to-office attendance with surveillance tool

TikTok tracks back-to-office attendance with surveillance tool

The entrance to TikTok company’s Singapore headquarters features a brightly colored mural on the wall that reads “come as you are.”
Roslan Rahman / AFP via Getty Images

  • TikTok is cracking down on its return-to-office policy with new employee surveillance tools.
  • The social app has implemented a new tool called MyRTO that monitors in-person office attendance.
  • MyRTO tracks credential thefts and asks staff to explain “deviations” from expected in-person attendance.

TikTok is no longer limited to tracking users’ locations. Now he has started monitoring the whereabouts of his employees.

The New York Times reports that the social media company has implemented new internal software called MyRTO to track and enforce its strict return-to-office policy. MyRTO monitors the badge movements that employees make when entering the office and asks workers to explain “deviations” from planned in-person attendance, the outlet reported.

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After implementing an in-person attendance policy last October that required U.S.-based employees to come to the office at least three times a week as coronavirus concerns eased, the company threatened to lay off employees. workers whose address did not match their assigned office address, Insider previously reported.

TikTok has previously faced criticism and been banned in several countries for its use of “Big Brother-type surveillance” after Forbes reported that its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, planned to use the app to track Americans using GPS information collected through of the application. But this week, the company notified employees that it was introducing its new internal tracking software designed to “provide greater clarity and context to both employees and leaders regarding their RTO expectations and office schedules, and help to encourage more transparent communications,” a ByteDance spokesperson told Insider.

Representatives for TikTok did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Managers across industries are increasingly turning to productivity monitoring software for remote and hybrid workers, monitoring how long users stay online while working from home and capturing random screenshots of workers’ screens. For those who must return to the office, some companies are implementing new attendance tracking software and deploying sensors to measure how full offices are and determine when a person is sitting at their desk or using a conference room.

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But while CEOs of big-name companies increasingly promote return-to-office policies as the best way to do business (Elon Musk, for example, has gone so far as to call remote work “morally wrong”), employees at technology companies push such policies. Mandates have expressed their discontent in the form of strikes and even resignations to preserve a benefit that workers consider equivalent to an 8% increase.

“When you allow flexibility, you broaden the talent pool,” Insider Prithwiraj Choudhury, an associate professor at Harvard Business School and an expert on remote work, previously reported.

“Whether the economy is contracting or expanding, the best workers always have outside options. So I think if you, as a company, have a model that doesn’t give the best employees flexibility, some of them, not all, “But some of them will be stolen by competitors.”



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