ByteDance Employee Jailed for Charging Users to Boost Their Posts

The content promoter on the Chinese version of TikTok had amassed over $91,000 over two years.

In a rare case, a court in Beijing has sentenced an employee of China’s leading internet company ByteDance after finding him guilty of accepting bribes from users to promote their content on its short video app, Douyin.

Wang Yudi, who was responsible for promoting content on Douyin, was given an 18-month sentence for taking bribes just over 585,000 yuan ($91,800) by the Haidian District Court in Beijing, according to court documents published Friday on the China Judgement Online database. Meanwhile, Wang’s colleague, Zhang Kaiying, was given a 12-month suspended sentence.

Both were charged with “accepting bribes by a non-state functionary” and given a 20,000 yuan fine each.

A spokesperson from Douyin told Sixth Tone the company discovered the two employees’ misconduct in May last year prior to them admitting the crime to the police. She added that the platform’s trending topics are generated by real-time discussion, not manually.

The 30-year-old Wang was found to have taken 9,050 yuan from a Douyin — the Chinese version of TikTok — user as early as July 2019 to make the latter’s content appear on the trending topics section, according to the court document. Between 2019 and 2020, Wang had amassed 576,000 yuan in total, of which he gave 220,100 yuan to Zhang for her help. Continue to read the full article here

– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.