Fired ByteDance Exec Claims in Lawsuit That China Has Open Entry to US Consumer Information

A former ByteDance govt has alleged in a lawsuit filed in opposition to the tech firm that Chinese language regime officers had unfettered entry to the corporate’s information when he labored there, together with information saved in the US.

Yintao Yu, 36, was the top of engineering for ByteDance’s U.S. operations from August 2017 to November 2018. He filed a wrongful dismissal lawsuit in opposition to the corporate in San Francisco Superior Courtroom on Could 12.

Yu alleges that he was fired from ByteDance—the mother or father firm of the Chinese language video app TikTok—after reporting cases of alleged misconduct on the firm to his bosses, who dismissed his issues.

Yu accused ByteDance of stealing content material from different platforms, equivalent to Instagram and Snapchat. He mentioned the tech big served as a “propaganda software” for the Chinese language Communist Celebration (CCP) by manipulating content material.

He claimed to have witnessed ByteDance engineers manipulating the algorithm on Douyin, the Chinese language model of TikTok, to advertise content material expressing hatred for Japan and demote content material displaying help for the Hong Kong protests.

Yu mentioned the CCP had a particular unit at ByteDance’s workplaces in Beijing that supplied steerage on how the corporate might advance “core Communist values.”

Yu mentioned the regime officers had the power to show off the Chinese language model of ByteDance’s apps and maintained entry to all firm information, together with data saved in the US.

Yu is in search of punitive damages, misplaced earnings, and 220,000 ByteDance shares that weren’t vested by the point he was fired.

A ByteDance spokesperson advised The Epoch Occasions by electronic mail that Yu labored on an app known as Flipagram throughout his tenure on the firm, which was discontinued years in the past because of “enterprise causes.”

The spokesperson additionally mentioned that Yu labored for ByteDance for lower than a yr, and his employment led to July 2018, which differs from Yu’s claims.

“We plan to vigorously oppose what we imagine are baseless claims and allegations on this grievance,” the spokesperson mentioned. “ByteDance is dedicated to respecting the mental property of different firms, and we purchase information in accordance with business practices and our world coverage.”

TikTok has come beneath elevated scrutiny in Washington due to nationwide safety issues and the potential that U.S. customers’ non-public data might land within the palms of the CCP, with many lawmakers advocating for a nationwide ban of the app.

ByteDance has repeatedly denied that TikTok information is handed to Beijing, with the corporate claiming that it shops U.S. person information on servers outdoors China.

Laws to Clamp Down on TikTok

Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) mentioned on Could 3 that senators will contemplate laws aimed toward rising the US’ capacity to limit TikTok and different foreign-controlled apps.

Schumer was referencing laws proposed by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) in March, dubbed the RESTRICT Act.

Underneath the laws, the Commerce Division can be granted new authority to “establish, deter, disrupt, forestall, prohibit, examine, or in any other case mitigate” any dangers stemming from a spread of data communications and expertise transactions involving foreign-owned apps equivalent to TikTok.

Epoch Times Photo
(L–R) Senate Choose Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) throughout a information convention to introduce the RESTRICT Act on the U.S. Capitol on March 7, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Photographs)

Warner and Thune have been joined by 24 different senators earlier this yr in proposing the measure.

In April, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo mentioned at a Senate listening to that the Biden administration is taking “pressing actions” to handle safety dangers posed by TikTok and different overseas firms, together with hiring folks to watch and establish such firms.

“I’ve put over 200 Chinese language firms on the entity listing in my tenure, and we’re actively, consistently investigating extra threats, and if we predict firms have to go onto the listing, I cannot hesitate,” she mentioned.

Katabella Roberts and The Related Press contributed to this report.

Originally posted 2023-05-15 15:24:40.