According to 4 former staff of TikTok’s father or mother corporate, ByteDance, the corporate scraped short-form videos, usernames, profile footage, and profile descriptions from Instagram, Snapchat, and different resources in 2017 after which uploaded them to Flipagram, a TikTok predecessor, with out customers’ wisdom or consent.
The interior paperwork of the ‘Source’ include references to the scraped knowledge in addition to explanations for why the corporate did so. An worker indicated in one report that the amassed content material could be used to peer what varieties of videos carried out smartly at the website online. Current customers would possibly probably use the content material to toughen their very own motion pictures and obtain recognition, in line with the worker of the supply leaked the inside track.
“ByteDance received Flipagram in 2017 and operated it, in addition to Vigo, for a short lived length,” mentioned Jennifer Banks, a consultant for ByteDance. Flipagram and Vigo had been lifeless for years and are now not related to any ByteDance merchandise.”
The methodology of scraping content material as a expansion hack, as claimed in this record, used to be no longer unusual for products and services on the time. However, it raises the query of whether or not TikTok’s algorithms have been skilled on video photos from different apps.
ByteDance used to be created through Zhang Yiming in March 2012, and corporate is definitely recognised for its entertaining smartphone apps. It competes with different Chinese tech behemoths similar to Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent.