Twenty-three of these profiles appear to have been created by current ByteDance directors, who manage departments overseeing content partnerships, public affairs, corporate social responsibility and media cooperation. Fifteen indicate that current ByteDance employees are also simultaneously employed by Chinese state media entities.
The LinkedIn profiles reveal significant connections between TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, and the propaganda arm of the Chinese government, which has been investing heavily in using social media to amplify disinformation that serves the Chinese Communist Party.
Jennifer Banks, a spokesperson for ByteDance, said, “ByteDance makes hiring decisions based purely on an individual’s professional capability to do the job. For our China-market businesses, that 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.” She further added that ByteDance “does not allow employees to hold second or part-time jobs, or any outside business activity, that would cause a conflict of interest.”
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