NewsColony
Image default
News

TikTok’s boss is mysterious tech billionaire who models himself on Mark Zuckerberg and makes workers do PRESS-UPS

HE is the baby-faced owner of TikTok who has raked in £12.5billion exposing teens to paedophiles, drugs and dangerous crazes on the video-sharing app.

But while Zhang Yiming has encouraged youngsters to document every aspect of their lives, his shady life away from the camera couldn’t be more different.

 Zhang Yiming is the baby-faced owner of TikTok

10

Zhang Yiming is the baby-faced owner of TikTokCredit: Alamy
 The billionaire is fiercely private

10

The billionaire is fiercely privateCredit: Getty – Contributor

The 36-year-old tech mogul is fiercely private – meaning not much is known about the 13th richest person in China.

Zhang built his fortune after founding Bytedance, the Chinese software developer behind TikTok and now the world’s most valuable private start up, in 2012.

The company, which is now worth £58billion, created a news aggregation app powered by artificial intelligence before creating TikTok in 2016.

Since then, it has exploded – with more than 1.5billion users signing up globally.

 Zhang, left, at Nankai University

10

Zhang, left, at Nankai UniversityCredit: AsiaWire

TIKTOK TIME BOMB

TikTok has spread like digital wildfire, snapping up over 1.5 billion users since its global launch three years ago — including millions in the UK. 

On the surface, the world’s fastest growing social media platform shows short clips of  lip-syncing to songs or showing off dance moves but there’s a far more sinister side. 

It’s become a magnet for paedophiles as well as a hotbed for violent and extremist content, with TikTok predators exploiting the platform’s young user base and lax security to prey on the vulnerable.

We’ve seen kids as young as eight being groomed on TikTok, while other creeps take advantage of young girls posting sexualised content of themselves on the platform.

And that’s especially worrying on a site which is attracting millions more children every year, with 53 per cent of kids now owning a smartphone by the age of seven.

That’s why we launched our TikTok Time Bomb series — to make sure parents are aware of the risks their kids are being exposed to, and what they can do to better protect them. 

Everyone agrees that social media can be a force for good, but it has to be used the right way and with proper controls in place.

We want TikTok to better moderate its content so that it’s not being left to kids to protect themselves online.

But the app has become a breeding ground for paedophiles and extremist content thanks to its lax security.

And while kids as young as eight rush to share short clips of themselves dancing and lip-syncing to their favourite songs, Zhang doesn’t even have a social media presence.

The tycoon has shied away from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – despite once comparing himself to Mark Zuckerberg.

But Zhang does claim to make his own TikTok videos and makes his senior staff do the same.

And if they don’t get enough likes, the eccentric owner forces his management team to do push-ups.

 Zhang with other CEOs at the 4th World Internet Conference

10

Zhang with other CEOs at the 4th World Internet ConferenceCredit: Getty Images – Getty
 With Apple CEO Tim Cook

10

With Apple CEO Tim CookCredit: Alamy

Secretive owner hides wife from social media

Zhang said last year: “For a very long time, I was merely watching TikTok videos without making any of them myself, because it’s a product mainly for young people.

“But later on we made it compulsory for all management team members to make their own TikTok videos, and they must win a certain number of ‘likes’. Otherwise, they have to do push-ups. It was a big step for me.”

Zhang – whose name is reportedly based on a Chinese proverb about “surprising everyone with a first attempt”, attended Nankai University where he first studied microelectronics before switching to software engineering.

It was here that he met his wife. The pair don’t have any children.

Without documenting his life on social media, it is hard to tell how lavish a lifestyle the couple actually lead.

Zhang has never even released her name – let alone posted a smiling selfie from a glitzy event or at their marital home in Beijing.

But he did once have an Instagram page that showed a scenic photo of Tokyo and an aerial video of a wedding.

 Zhang has no social media presence

10

Zhang has no social media presenceCredit: Alamy

Chinese app faces crackdown

Sun Online launched its TikTok Time Bomb series to shine a light on the dangerous side of the app.

Worryingly, more than a quarter of parents admit they are clueless such content even exists.

Zhang has remained relatively unscathed as TikTok continues to dominate the news – especially as China ramps up its efforts to police the country’s version of the app, Douyin.

Both apps slightly differ in that TikTok’s Chinese counterpart is way more advanced – with users able to buy a product featured in a video in three steps or take a virtual tour of a city’s stores and restaurants to get coupons.

There is also a much older user base on Douyin thanks to its popular lifestyle vlogs and business advice.

 Zhang at the company's headquarters in Beijing

10

Zhang at the company’s headquarters in BeijingCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Joke app shut down for ‘vulgar’ content

The app censors content deemed sensitive by the Chinese authorities – including videos of the protests in Hong Kong – just like any other China-based social media company.

Zhang has fallen victim to this before. In 2018, Bytedance was slammed by authorities for hosting “inappropriate content” on its news platform Jinri Toutiao.

And its joke app Neihan Duanzi, which featured comedy sketches and memes, was shut down in 2018 for its “vulgar” content.

As a result, Zhang vowed to hire 4,000 additional censors to avoid any more run-ins with the authorities.

Douyin now contains a raft of government propaganda – with around 5,700 Chinese government agencies and Communist Party organisations active on the platform.

 Zhang is the 13th richest person in China

10

Zhang is the 13th richest person in ChinaCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Girls as young as eight groomed on the app

While the company can monitor its content closely on Douyin, TikTok users are relatively free to share whatever content they want to.

This means the app has become a magnet for the seedy and sinister with young girls being contacted by much older men.

TikTok insists there are “protective measures” in place to “reduce the opportunity for misuse” – including prompting any user under 18 to make their account private.

A spokesperson from TikTok, which last week announced a new feature to allow parents to control what their kids view, said: “Promoting a positive and safe app environment for our users is a top priority for TikTok. We use both technologies and human moderation teams to identify, review and remove dangerous or abusive content.

“We have investigated every individual case that has been raised and removed all content that violates our Community Guidelines.

“While our protections won’t catch every instance of inappropriate content, we continue to rapidly expand our content moderation teams and improve our technologies and policies so that TikTok can remain a place for positive creative expression.”

Take control of TikTok – change these settings now

Parents should do the following immediately…

Go private:

  • Head into Settings > Privacy and Safety and look for the Discoverability heading at the top.
  • Under that you’ll see a setting called Private Account. Toggle this on.
  • TikTok recommends your page to lots of other users to improve video circulation.
  • Switch the setting off and the account will no longer be recommended to other users.

Shut out weirdos:

  • In Privacy and Safety > Safety, you can prevent other users from interacting with you.
  • Most of the settings are on Everyone by default, but can be changed to Friends or Off.
  • You can prevent interactions on comments, Duets, Reacts, users seeing which videos you’ve liked, and also messages.

Restricted Mode ON:

  • Restricted Mode tries to limit age-inappropriate content from appearing for children.
  • It’s not perfect, and works through using computer-scanning systems – so some dodgy content will inevitably be missed.
  • It’s also possible to set a passcode to prevent your child from changing this setting later on.
  • You’ll find this in Settings > Digital Wellbeing > Screen Time Management.

Family Safety Mode:

  • This setting lets you assign accounts as ‘Parent’ or ‘Teen’, giving you remote control over a child’s TikTok access.
  • You can set watch time limits, exclude inappropriate content and limit who can send messages.
  • It’s possible to do this from your own smartphone, so you can make sure your child is as protected as possible from anywhere.
  • This setting is in Settings > Digital Wellbeing > Family Safe Mode.
 Zhang has no social media presence

10

Zhang has no social media presenceCredit: Alamy
 He has shied away from the limelight

10

He has shied away from the limelightCredit: AsiaWire

Source: The Sun UK

Related posts

Pelosi reveals she and Trump still not spoken since SOTU spat despite coronavirus pandemic

Newscolony

Hashem Abedi trial: Benefits claimed by Manchester bomber's family were used in terror plot, jury hears

Newscolony

UK flood warning map – where are alerts in place today?

Newscolony

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More