Home Technology 300 TikTok, Bytedance Staff Worked in Chinese State Media: Analysis

300 TikTok, Bytedance Staff Worked in Chinese State Media: Analysis

by Atlanta Business Journal
  • 300 TikTok and ByteDance employees worked in Chinese state media, per an analysis of LinkedIn profiles by Forbes.
  • Forbes said its analysis indicated 50 of the 300 employees currently work on or for TikTok.
  • TikTok has long faced scrutiny in the US over its links to Beijing.

Hundreds of TikTok and ByteDance employees previously worked for Chinese state media, according to a review of employee LinkedIn profiles by Forbes.

Forbes said its analysis found that 300 workers across TikTok and ByteDance, including company directors and managers, had previously worked for Chinese government-controlled news media including Xinhua and China Radio International. Some 50 of the 300 employees currently work on or for TikTok, Forbes said.

TikTok has long faced scrutiny in the US over its links to Beijing. During his last year in office, former President Donald Trump attempted to ban TikTok from operating in the US. 

Forbes said the LinkedIn profiles of 15 current ByteDance employees indicated they were being simultaneously employed by the company and by Chinese state media.

TikTok and ByteDance didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Jennifer Banks, a spokesperson for ByteDance, told Forbes the company’s hiring decisions were “based purely on an individual’s professional capability to do the job.”

Banks continued: “For our China-market businesses, that includes people who have previously worked in government or state media positions in China.”

She added that ByteDance “does not allow employees to hold second or part-time jobs, or any outside business activity, that would cause a conflict of interest.”

One TikTok employee, now a content strategy manager at the company, was previously a chief correspondent for state-controlled Xinhua, per Forbes.

BuzzFeed News report published in June revealed audio recordings from TikTok meetings that suggested workers in China had accessed US user data.

In June Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores. He claimed TikTok posed “an unacceptable national security risk” due to data-harvesting and “Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data.”

TikTok doesn’t publicly tag accounts controlled by the Chinese government, per Forbes. The social-media company announced plans to tackle this in March.

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