Former Chinese Govt Official Worked on TikTok Content Policy: Report
TikTok has been under heavy scrutiny over its alleged ties with the Chinese government. That is about to become worse as a new report now says a former Chinese government official worked on TikTok's content policy till January this year. According to a report in Financial Times, Cai Zheng, a former Chinese government official decided what went on the platform. Zheng ran ByteDance's global policy team in Beijing. Zheng had previously worked at China's embassy in Tehran, the report said, citing a deleted LinkedIn profile.
According to the report, Zheng joined ByteDance in 2018. He wrote guidelines for what videos were acceptable on TikTok and other ByteDance apps like Helo and Vigo Video. TikTok was quoted by FT as saying that Zheng was not involved in developing policies, and said that he worked on regional and local teams on localisation of early content policies. The company was further quoted as saying that Zheng's public sector background was not a consideration when they were hiring him. Further, there were no conversations with the Chinese government in the hiring process.
Zheng left his role at ByteDance in January this year. ByteDance says that Zheng had decided to move to its gaming team, and his role in content policy has not been filled yet. TikTok has policy teams in Los Angeles, Dublin, Singapore, and Silicon Valley. All of these teams report to a global head of trust and safety in Beijing. According to the FT report, that person is a Chinese woman known by the pseudonym Yuyi F in ByteDance.