Whistleblower Reveals TikTok’s Alleged Illegal Practices and Ties to Chinese Communist Party

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An ex-employee of ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, has filed a lawsuit alleging illegal activities, including content theft and collusion with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Yintao “Roger” Yu, a former head of engineering at ByteDance, claims that the company maintained a “backdoor channel” for the CCP to access user data, stole content from rival platforms, and utilized bots to manipulate metrics and user engagement.

CCP’s Office and Access to User Data

Yu alleges that the CCP has its own office within ByteDance, granting them privileged access to all user data. This backdoor channel allegedly persisted even after the localization of American users’ information in the United States. Yu claims that ByteDance employees were aware of the Beijing-controlled committee’s influence, despite the members not being employees of the company.

Stealing Content and Cheating Metrics

According to Yu’s lawsuit, ByteDance systematically stole copyrighted content from other platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, created fake accounts to manipulate metrics, and assisted the CCP in distributing propaganda materials. The company allegedly operated with a “culture of lawlessness” that prioritized growth at any cost, justifying these actions as “entrepreneurship”.

Retaliation and Legal Proceedings

Yu asserts that he was fired from his position in 2018 as retaliation for expressing concerns about the company’s “clearly illegal activities” to his superiors. Despite sharing his concerns with a senior vice president who reported directly to the head of ByteDance, Zhang Yiming, his complaints were dismissed, and the company continued its previous practices.

Having joined ByteDance in 2017 with a $600,000 guaranteed payout for his intellectual property and a stock option, Yu was fired in November 2018, allegedly due to downsizing. However, he received no notice and was not granted any stock options.

Yu is now seeking a court ruling from the San Francisco Supreme Court that orders ByteDance to stop copying content from other social media platforms.

Author Profile

Vasyl Kolomiiets
Vasyl Kolomiiets
I'm Vasyl Kolomiiets, a seasoned tech journalist regularly contributing to global publications. Having a profound background in information technologies, I seamlessly blended my technical expertise with my passion for writing, venturing into technology journalism. I've covered a wide range of topics including cutting-edge developments and their impacts on society, contributing to leading tech platforms.

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