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TikTok, ByteDance employees worked for Chinese state media, report

At least 300 employees of TikTok and employees of parent company ByteDance worked for the Chinese state media outlets, and more than a dozen are still working, media reports said.

LinkedIn profiles of ByteDance and TikTok employees showed them in ongoing roles such as content partnerships, strategy, policy, public affairs, monetization and “media collaboration,” Forbes reported. ByteDance layoffs: TikTok parent closes game development studio, lays off more than 100 employees

Profiles of 15 current ByteDance employees reveal that they have worked at both the tech firm and state media.

“Fifteen show that current ByteDance employees are also concurrently employed by Chinese state media entities, including Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International and China Central/China Global Television,” the report said late Thursday.

LinkedIn profiles reviewed by Forbes “reveal significant ties between TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, and the Chinese government’s propaganda arm, which is heavily invested in using social media to spread disinformation that serves the Chinese Communist Party.”

According to the report, ByteDance and TikTok do not dispute that the 300 LinkedIn profiles represent current employees or deny their ties to Chinese state media.

A ByteDance spokesperson said the company makes “hiring decisions based solely on an individual’s professional ability to do the job.”

“For our businesses in the Chinese market, this includes people who have previously worked in government or state media positions in China. Outside of China, employees also bring experience in government, public policy and media organizations from dozens of markets,” the company said.

Forbes identified 49 LinkedIn profiles for TikTok and ByteDance employees who previously worked for CCTV and CGTN.

Among them were CCTV’s former editor-in-chief, who now serves as ByteDance’s director of media content partnerships, and ByteDance’s overseas markets operator, whose profile says he is still an editor for CCTV.

The rise of TikTok has raised national security concerns from US lawmakers.

TikTok recently acknowledged that employees outside the country can access this information, although “robust cybersecurity controls and clearance” are required from the US security team.

In June, Buzzfeed News reported that US TikTok user data was repeatedly accessed by officials in China. News Tech Ok

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