Ex-TikTok Exec Claims CEO Shou Chew A ‘Conduit’ For Chinese ByteDance Leaders


TikTok ban

In a significant legal development, Katie Puris, a former executive of TikTok, has escalated her allegations against the social media giant. She claims that its parent company, ByteDance, wields a much larger influence over TikTok than previously acknowledged. This revelation comes at a time when TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, is grappling with the imminent threat of a TikTok ban in US.

Puris, who initially filed a lawsuit against TikTok in February citing age and gender discrimination, has now broadened her claims. She asserts that TikTok ByteDance’s influence seeps into the company’s day-to-day operations, contradicting previous statements by the platform’s legal representatives who denied such ties.

Puris alleges that several ByteDance executives are the true decision-makers, dictating crucial aspects of TikTok’s operations such as marketing, branding, and staffing. This, she claims, undermines the supposed independence of TikTok’s leadership. The TikTok lawsuit even goes as far as accusing the company of providing false information to the U.S. Congress about Chew’s autonomy from ByteDance’s directives.

Further allegations note that after ByteDance executives criticized her supervisor’s marketing strategies, dismissal followed—an action Puris believes was dictated by ByteDance to safeguard its interests with other tech firms in China.

Adding to the controversy, an unnamed senior leader within TikTok reportedly communicated to Puris post-termination that Chinese influence over the platform has intensified, with directives increasingly being issued directly from China.

This lawsuit further fuels the mounting scrutiny under which TikTok finds itself, particularly regarding the security of American user data and its Chinese affiliations. Despite TikTok’s efforts to allay concerns through data management changes, including a partnership with Oracle to handle U.S. data, skepticism among U.S. lawmakers persists. This led to the recent legislation signed by President Joe Biden, mandating ByteDance to divest TikTok unless substantial progress is demonstrated within a set timeframe, with the potential for a complete ban.

TikTok has yet to respond to these renewed allegations as the situation on the TikTok ban continues to develop.

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