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NewsTikTok's owner ByteDance illegally scraped content from other platforms

TikTok’s owner ByteDance illegally scraped content from other platforms

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A former employee filed complaint about illegal activities that allegedly took place within ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, was filed.

Yintao “Roger” Yu, a former head of engineering at Bytedance in the United States, has claimed that he was terminated from his position after raising concerns to management that the company was taking user content from other platforms, primarily Instagram and Snapchat.

This dispute has arisen at a very specific time, when TikTok, an app owned by ByteDance, is facing mounting pressure from lawmakers in the United States, Australia, and some European countries due to concerns about the potential use of this platform to enact the influence from the Chinese government.

In a complaint filed on Friday in San Francisco state court, Yu has alleged that the Chinese tech company engaged in a “worldwide scheme to steal and profit from the content of others” without obtaining permission.

According to Yu, when he brought up his concerns to higher management, they disregarded them and instructed him to conceal the illicit activities, particularly from employees based in the United States, as the country had more rigorous intellectual property laws and the risk of class action lawsuits. Soon after, ByteDance terminated Yu’s employment in November 2018.

Yu’s complaint further alleges that ByteDance created “masses of fake user accounts to inflate its metrics”.

In his legal filing, Yu is requesting a court order to prevent the company from scraping content from other social media platforms.

In response, the representatives of ByteDance said these claims are baseless and the company will be defending itself. “We plan to vigorously oppose what we believe are baseless claims and allegations. Mr. Yu worked for ByteDance Inc. for less than a year,” noted company officials.

Written by Alius Noreika

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