ByteDance Apps, Controversies, & Facts

The Chinese company says it has more than 150,000 employees in almost 120 cities around the world. We believe at ByteDance that high ethical standards and a culture of integrity play a pivotal role throughout the development of the company. Therefore, we have developed the ByteDance Code of Conduct and ByteDance Partner Code of Conduct.

The first product the group produced was the app Neihan Duanzi (“profound gags”), which allowed users to share jokes and memes. This was followed by the news aggregator app Toutiao, which used machine and deep learning algorithms to deliver a personalized news feed to users. Toutiao became an early flagship of ByteDance and continues to have more than 300 million monthly active users. The company also developed the Indian social media app Hello, as well as the popular Indonesian news aggregator Baca Berita (BaBe).

  1. ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017, and the app took the world by storm, crossing a billion users in four years.
  2. TikTok has said around 60 percent of ByteDance is owned by institutional investors including US giant BlackRock.
  3. A ByteDance spokesman initially claimed that Aziz was suspended because of a previous offense that violated TikTok’s policies.
  4. Despite the company’s grandiose success, ByteDance has faced international scrutiny as a result of accusations that the company imposes censorship in favour of the Chinese government.
  5. A privately held firm, ByteDance does not release revenue and profit figures, but media estimates of its earnings put it on par with some of the biggest firms in the world.

ByteDance products have faced government-led investigations and large-scale bans in other countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkey. Hello and TikTok were banned in India, thereby removing millions of users from the apps’ reach. In addition, in November 2022 the European Union (EU) confirmed the existence of an ongoing investigation into TikTok’s data practices, including data transmissions to China.

A large number of US lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — are not convinced that TikTok is independent of Beijing despite being headquartered outside China. When asked during a US congressional hearing in March last year if a Chinese official was on the Beijing ByteDance Technology board, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said “I believe so”. ByteDance’s founders have a 20 percent stake, and the remainder is held by employees, according to TikTok. TikTok has said around 60 percent of ByteDance is owned by institutional investors including US giant BlackRock. AFP, along with more than 100 fact-checking organisations, is paid by TikTok and Facebook parent Meta to verify videos that potentially contain false information.

Key figures

It quickly took off in markets like Southeast Asia, signaling a new opportunity for the company. ByteDance acquired in November 2017 and subsequently merged it with TikTok. Today, the TikTok platform, which is available outside of China, has become the leading destination for short-form mobile videos worldwide. Increased regulatory barriers were also introduced against the company because of tensions between the United States and China. National security concerns about the collection of user data led the U.S. government to ban the app from being installed on government-issued devices. Legislation was also introduced that could lead to a national ban of the platform altogether.

Toutiao: personalized content aggregation and distribution

This has been true not only for TikTok but many of its other apps, which have vast numbers of users. In this article, the authors explain the many ways in which ByteDance has used its SSP to fuel development and growth. TikTok is banned from government employees’ work phones in the United States and several other nations including Australia and Canada over security concerns.

For example, users have accused the company of deleting articles on BaBe that were critical of the Chinese government. In 2019 TikTok user Feroza Aziz’s account was suspended after she posted a video criticizing the Chinese government’s mass detention of Uyghur Muslims. A ByteDance spokesman initially claimed that Aziz was suspended because of a previous offense that violated TikTok’s policies. TikTok later claimed that a “moderation error” caused the ban and offered Aziz an apology. During the past decade, ByteDance has proven itself time and again to be a spectacularly innovative and successful company.

The future of ByteDance

The app enjoyed early success with young Internet users, and its user base grew substantially in 2017, when ByteDance acquired the popular video-sharing app, which it merged with TikTok in 2018. Much of TikTok’s popularity came from viral videos that were shared by Internet influencers and social media How to play earnings stars who had millions of followers. TikTok’s popularity also increased considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic, as millions of housebound social media users turned to their phones for entertainment. In 2020 ByteDance released CapCut, a video-editing software with more than 200 million monthly active users.

New Delhi said at the time the bans were intended to defend against threats to its sovereignty. These concerns have been echoed by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies — including by the FBI director this week — as well as regulators elsewhere. That 1 percent stake also came with a board seat in ByteDance’s Chinese entity, tech news website The Information reported in 2021. A Chinese state-owned entity owns 1 percent of Douyin, according to the ByteDance website. TikTok has said this is a requirement under Chinese law and does not impact ByteDance’s international operations.

ByteDance – statistics & facts

ByteDance has also been accused of using apps like TikTok to employ intrusive data-gathering techniques. In 2022 Forbes technology reporter Emily Baker-White claimed that she had been spied on and tracked by ByteDance after writing an article critical of TikTok. Company officials initially rebuffed these claims but later admitted that their employees had obtained data from American TikTok users, including journalists and those connected to them. According to Baker-White, this misuse of data included spying on her and other users’ IP addresses in an attempt to track an internal mole at the company who was thought to be in contact with reporters. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that they had begun an investigation in late 2022 into the claim against ByteDance.

In 2016 ByteDance released the video-sharing app Douyin, exclusively for users in China. The popularity of Douyin in China inspired the team to develop TikTok for international audiences. TikTok is an app platform that allows users to post short-form videos and share content from their cell phones. TikTok uses advanced algorithmic methods to predict which videos users will enjoy and thus create a personalized assortment of videos for them to peruse on their “For You” page (FYP).

The app was an international version of Douyin, which was released in China in 2016 and now has hundreds of millions of users. Founded by Zhang Yiming, Liang Rubo and a team of others in 2012, ByteDance developed the video-sharing apps TikTok and Douyin. The company says it now routes all of its US traffic through infrastructure in the United States, and that it is deleting previously collected data.






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