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TikTok ‘stole’ content from other social networks to train its algorithm

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ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, created Fake accounts with content taken from Instagram, Snapchat and other social networks to upload them to Flipagram, a platform acquired by the company in 2017. This is confirmed by documents leaked this week, which ensure that ByteDance appropriated videos, usernames and photos from other platforms to recycle them, without their owners’ permission, in the social network that he had just bought.

ByteDance created fake accounts on Flipagram using content extracted from Instagram, Snapchat and other social networks

Some former employees of the company have acknowledged that the theft of information and content began shortly after the acquisition of Flipagram in January 2017. Internal documents from the Chinese technology company indicate that this information theft was a “growth hack” technique. This “growth hacking” consists of growing a community or platform with the least possible financial investment.

One of these former employees acknowledged that ByteDance’s goal was appropriate up to 10,000 videos per day from other platforms to reupload them on your own website. These videos were used to train and inform the ByteDance algorithm for personalized recommendations, which is what TikTok uses today.

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ByteDance’s intention in appropriating this information was train your algorithm using content produced in the United States. According to known information, ByteDance also appropriated posts from This platform, bought by ByteDance in 2017, is the one that would later become TikTok.

Flipagram was founded in 2013 as a platform for creating and sharing short videos. In a way, it can be considered as the forerunner of TikTok. For those years, it was common to take content from other networks and use it on another platform to train your algorithm and grow your community. In this case, what this information could prove is that the TikTok algorithm was formed using content taken from its competitor’s apps.


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