A former executive of ByteDance, the parent company of popular short-form video app TikTok, has accused the company of “lawlessness” and violating Chinese regulations, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal.
Li Li, who served as the head of human resources at ByteDance from 2016 to 2018, alleged in a social media post that the company did not have a system for complying with Chinese labor laws and regulations during her time there. She also claimed that ByteDance had evaded taxes and provided fake job titles to employees to help them get visas.
In addition, Li accused ByteDance of stealing technology from other companies, including music recognition technology from a Chinese firm called Jiliguala, and using it in the development of TikTok. She also claimed that ByteDance had a culture of sexism and harassment, with female employees being subjected to unfair treatment and inappropriate behavior from male colleagues.
ByteDance has denied Li’s allegations, calling them “untrue” and “unfounded”. The company has stated that it complies with all Chinese regulations and laws, and that it takes issues of workplace harassment and discrimination seriously.
This is not the first time that ByteDance has faced accusations of wrongdoing. In the United States, the company has been under scrutiny over concerns about data privacy and national security, leading to calls for a ban on TikTok. ByteDance has denied any wrongdoing and has taken steps to address these concerns, including establishing a data center in the United States and hiring a former Disney executive to lead its operations in North America.
The allegations made by Li are a reminder of the challenges that ByteDance and other Chinese tech companies face as they try to expand their operations globally. As these companies grow and become more influential, they will face increasing scrutiny and criticism, and will need to work hard to ensure that they are operating within the bounds of local laws and regulations.