Entertainment

TikTok owner ByteDance allegedly used fake accounts to expand the Flipagram app

TikTok owner ByteDance is under fire for allegedly stealing content from competing social media platforms to popularize their app Flipagram.

ByteDance is the parent company behind viral video giant TikTok, but this isn’t their only content venture. One of the developer’s sister apps, Flipagram, should once be a worthy competitor to TikTok and offer a similar creation experience.

Now it is alleged that ByteDance allegedly created fake social media accounts with content stolen from existing Instagram and Snapchat accounts in an attempt to make Flipagram a success.

TikTok logo on a dark background
Unsplash: Alexander Shatov

TikTok is often seen as the successor to Vine due to its variety of content.

ByteDance is accused of boosting Flipagram with fake accounts

According to internal documents and ex-employee statements obtained from Buzzfeed News, ByteDance allegedly created fake accounts to boost Flipagram’s popularity. Without the consent of Instagram and Snapchat users, ByteDance populated these accounts with content from multiple accounts, including profile descriptions and usernames.

The allegations come from four former employees of Flipagram, now renamed Vigo Video. Dubbed “growth hacks” by employees, ByteDance sorted through over 10,000 videos a day, which were then used to manipulate the app’s “For You” section.

a picture of Bytedance
ByteDance

Beijing-based ByteDance is a multinational internet technology company.

In response, a spokesperson for ByteDance, Jennifer Banks, said: “ByteDance acquired and operated Flipagram in 2017, and later Vigo for a short time. Flipagram and Vigo ceased operations years ago and are not affiliated with current ByteDance products.”

Internal documents state that ByteDance began copying content in 2017, with the action itself described as a “goal and key outcome” by an engineering team within the company.

Flipagram was acquired by ByteDance in January 2017, the same year they also bought TikTok’s predecessor, Musical.ly.

https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/tiktok-owner-bytedance-allegedly-used-fake-accounts-to-grow-flipagram-app-1798102/ TikTok owner ByteDance allegedly used fake accounts to expand the Flipagram app

Emma Bowman

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