TikTok hasn’t had the best week, it’s fair to say. The Financial Times reported on trouble at the platform’s London office, where a team has been working on live shopping feature TikTok Shop:
Joshua Ma, a senior executive at China’s ByteDance — owner of the viral video app — and the head of ecommerce at TikTok Europe, outraged London-based staff at a dinner this year when he said that, as a “capitalist”, he “didn’t believe” companies should offer maternity leave.
Yikes. The report also said at least 20 members of the team have left and more are on the verge of quitting, with two having been paid settlements relating to working conditions.
Hours after the FT’s report, Ma was said to be taking some time off and stepping back from his leadership of the UK ecommerce team. The report had clearly caused problems inside the company, with one employee reportedly suggesting words related to the incident (like “Financial Times” and “maternity”) be censored from the comments of TikTok Shop livestreams. Wisely, that wasn’t implemented.
Elsewhere, parent company ByteDance “has seen its valuation drop by US$100 billion over the past year to about US$300 billion, according to sources and published deal offers,” according to the South China Morning Post
. Increased regulation and competition in China are said to be the main factors here. But TikTok’s incredible success in the West can probably only be maintained in the long run if it has a working culture that makes staff want to stick around.
that seems to be granting itself a stronger legal basis for tracking users to target ads
in Europe. This hasn’t got much media attention yet, but I suspect it will be tested in court sooner rather than later, stirring up yet more trouble.