Bytedance denies employees in China access to data

Chinese employees of the company can no longer access internal data without restrictions. Does Bytedance want to delimit the international market more?

Bytedance – the Chinese company behind TikTok – is entering the international market. Not only the growing success of the short video app shows that the tech company can also exist outside of China. The company therefore already announced in March that it would adapt its internal structures to the goal of expanding its success overseas. Personnel changes were initially made for this. Bytedance appointed Kelly Zhang and Zhang Lidong – two long-time employees – as managing directors for the Chinese market. With Kevin Mayer, who previously worked at Disney, as Global Chief Operating Officer and international CEO of TikTok, the next drastic personnel replacement followed. As part of this development, Liu Zhen, TikTok’s senior vice president, left the company. Zhen was largely responsible for the company’s expansion into the international market.

After changes in the executive floor: Chinese employees are no longer allowed to work on products for the USA

After this personnel restructuring, Bytedance now seems to be initiating an even stricter separation of the Chinese and international markets. As the online portal PingWest reports, the company has denied employees access to data for products that are primarily to be launched in the USA. Bytedance already launched TikTok, an app based on a Chinese predecessor. The original app is called Douyin and is only available in China. Apart from the fact that these two bytedance products are almost identical in their application, they are based on different systems.


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According to internal sources, Bytedance has now introduced new guidelines. These state that employees who are in China and develop products for the local market can no longer access codes and data records without restrictions. The company would also limit access to sensitive data for the TikTok app. PingWest further reports that the informants want to remain anonymous. The reason: employees are not permitted to speak to the press in this regard.

Bytedance wants to separate the Chinese and international markets

With these new guidelines, Bytedance is clearly separating the Chinese and the international market. This can bring considerable advantages for users, particularly with regard to data protection. In the past, Bytedance repeatedly received criticism for the lax handling of personal user data. the separation would mean that the tech group could no longer rely on the data protection regulations applicable in China.

The fact that Bytedance denies employees access to app data has nothing to do with internal disagreements. The group is pursuing the plan to strictly separate the international and domestic markets. For tech companies that operate globally, however, it is unusual to enforce this by denying access to data. Because mostly they work on the basis of these on new products, which are then launched worldwide. It remains to be seen what effects this step will have on the quality of the by-dance products.



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