A former executive at TikTok parent company ByteDance, Inc. has broken silence and made damning allegations against the Chinese Communist Party-tied Big Tech giant.
Yintao “Roger” Yu was reportedly fired from his job as head of the engineering department for ByteDancein the United States. During his time there, Yu allegedly observed Americans’ user data being fed to the tyrannical CCP in Beijing.
A copy of a lawsuit obtained by Bloomberg News revealed Yu’s allegations that ByteDance terminated his employment in retaliation for his unheeded complaints to supervisors about the company’s “’brazenly unlawful conduct’” in exploiting user data in the United States.
Chillingly, the lawsuit claims the company gave the CCP its own office to mine the information along with being given “’supreme access’” to user data. Yu says the data leaks continued despite efforts in the United States to prevent individual engineers in China from accessing this data. This data would presumably include data from minors in the United States, who continue to join TikTok while Lemon8, another social media network owned by ByteDance, continues to gain traction amongst American teenagers.
Despite mounting criticism of the app, the data leaks continued unchecked. “‘After receiving criticism about access from abroad, individual engineers in China were restricted from accessing U.S. user data, but the Committee continued to have access,’” the suit reportedly alleges.
ByteDance — true to form — is deflecting by claiming the allegations of data theft were supposedly “’baseless.’”
“’ByteDance is committed to respecting the intellectual property of other companies, and we acquire data in accordance with industry practices and our global policy,’” a spokesperson dodged in a statement obtained by Bloomberg News.
Yu also said the company stole copyrighted content from other social media platforms like Snapchat and created bot users to inflate its metrics to help the CCP spew propaganda around the world. He says the company operated under a “’culture of lawlessness’” that focused on engagement growth at all costs.
“[Yu] was surprised by the brazenly unlawful conduct within the company, which was euphemistically excused as ‘entrepreneurship,’” the complaint reportedly said.
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