A former executive at TikTok’s parent company, bytedanceaccused the tech giant of stealing content from competitors like instagram and Snapchat to use it as apropaganda tool” for the Chinese regime by suppressing or promoting content favorable to the interests of the country.
Yintao YuByteDance’s former head of US operations, earlier this month filed a lawsuit against the company in the San Francisco Superior Court by Unfair dismissal, after affirm that he was stripped of his post by reveal “unlawful conduct” Inside the company.
On the demand, Yu alleges that the Chinese regime supervised the work of ByteDance from its headquarters in Beijing and provided information on how to advance “core communist values.”
The former executive of bytedance stated that officials Xi Jinping they had the ability to disable the Chinese version of ByteDance’s apps, and they retained access to all company data, including information stored in the United States.
ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The accusations come at a time when TikTok – one of the most popular social networking apps in the United States – is being scrutinized by Washington and other states that doubt its ability to secure Americans’ data from the Chinese government. The Joe Biden administration has said that could block the app if Chinese shareholders don’t sell their stake in the company.
TikTok assures that it never provided any type of information to regime officials and that he would not do so if asked. In an effort to avoid a ban, it also wants to store US user data on servers operated by Oracle.
In another part of the lawsuit, Yu alleges that he observed that bytedance promoted content expressing hate towards Japan in app douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. He also indicated that the company lowered the content that showed support for the protests in Hong Kong while promoting criticism of the demonstrations.
According to Yu, the tech giant developed software that pulled user content from competing websites without permission. He ensured that the company republished the content on its own websites – including TikTok – to attract more user interaction.
In his remarks, Yu said a fellow TikTok executive in charge of the video-sharing app’s algorithm ignored his concerns. The company modified the program, but continued to extract data from US users when they were abroad.
The former executive also alleges that the company created fake users to increase its engagement metricswith a programming that included giving “likes” to some publications and for them to follow real accounts.
According to the demand, Zhang Yiming, the creator of ByteDance, paid bribes to Lu Wei, a senior government official dealing with Internet regulation.
Yintao Yu he is seeking lost earnings, punitive damages and 220,000 ByteDance shares that were not allocated to him when he was fired. However, he does not give a dollar figure for the damages, but the shares alone would be worth tens of millions of dollars. The case was filed several years after the mediation with the company failed.
(With information from The Associated Press)
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