Founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012. ByteDance operates in 150 countries and has over 800 million daily active users on its platforms, which includes TikTok and Toutiao.
TikTok surpassed Google and Facebook as the most popular site on the internet in 2021. Concerns outlined in this podcast from the Center for Humane Tech include influence by the Chinese government, surveillance and algorithmic manipulation, keystroke tracking, addictiveness, and influence over other platforms (eg. YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels). US Congress and the Federal Trade Commission are investigating TikTok's data practices and corporate governance over concerns that they pose privacy and security risks.
Source: Center for Humane Tech (2022)
The 2023 Digital Inclusion Benchmark ranks 200 companies on their responsibility to advance a more inclusive digital society. The companies were assessed using four measurement areas: access, skills, use and innovation. This company ranked #152/200, with a total score of 18.3/100.
Source: World Benchmarking Alliance (2023)
In 2019 ByteDance agreed to pay US$5.7 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that the company illegally collected personal information from children. This is the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the Commission in a children's privacy case.
Source: news article (2019)
In 2021 TikTok agreed to pay US$92 million to settle a class action lawsuit over consumer privacy violations in the USA via its current app and its predecessor, Musical.ly. The plaintiffs' allegations included that the app doesn't notify users that its filters and effects use facial scans that capture and store biometric data; that after a user records a video TikTok keeps a copy, even if the user never posts it, and there's no notification that any such transfer occurs; and that the app collects private and personally identifiable information and device data for the purpose of earning revenue through targeted ads. In addition to the payout, TikTok has promised to initiate a new privacy compliance training program to protect users' data.
Source: news article (2021)
In 2023 TikTok was fined 345 million euros for breaching privacy laws regarding the processing of children's personal data in the European Union. It has also been ordered to bring its offending data processing into compliance within three months.
Source: news article (2023)
In 2023 the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) imposed a 12.7 million GBP fine on this company, for using personal data belonging to children under 13 without parental consent. The ICO estimates that TikTok allowed up to 1.4 million UK children under 13 to use its platform in 2020, despite its own rules not allowing children that age to create an account. TikTok "did not do enough" to check who was using their platform and take sufficient action to remove the underage children that were.
Source: UK ICO (2023)
The 2019 report by Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), found that ByteDance "collaborates with public security bureaus across China, including in Xinjiang where it plays an active role in disseminating the party-state's propaganda".
Source: ABC (2019)
A joint investigation by triple j Hack and Four Corners has found the TikTok algorithm is exposing Australians to dangerous content while controlling which people and political movements get users' attention. The article accuses TikTok of shadow bans, bias, causing eating disorders, exploiting vulnerable people and censorship.
Source: ABC (2021)
TikTok has raised concerns in the areas of privacy, cyberbullying, national security and addiction. The app has been temporarily banned in India and Indonesia and has faced lawsuits in China and the USA. Read more at Wikipedia using the link below.
Source: Wikipedia (2022)
|Revenue||7.2 billion USD (2018)|