TikTok pays influencers with out informing viewers to unfold movies

The Japanese operator of popular Chinese video-sharing app TikTok said Monday it had paid social media influencers to tweet certain videos without notifying viewers of the payments.

It is believed that the Japanese office of ByteDance Ltd. TikTok videos hand-picked by the company that influencers used to spread awareness of the app in a strategy that could be viewed as stealth marketing. It is believed that viewers may have misinterpreted these videos as ordinary posts from general social media users.

Photo taken in December 2021 shows an advertisement in Tokyo for the video-sharing app TikTok. (kyodo)

The company said the practice of paying influencers to upload certain videos, in place until last December, isn’t aimed at increasing the number of downloads of the app and therefore doesn’t feel obliged to clarify that the videos are for the public relationships are definitely activities.

The Japanese office declined to disclose the amount and timing of the payments, citing contracts with the social media influencers.

The operator said in a statement that the measures it is taking may mislead app users and other data subjects and that it will take the necessary measures to prevent a similar incident from happening again.

According to US research firm Sensor Tower Inc., the global downloads of the TikTok app, which allows users to upload short videos with audio and which is particularly popular among young people, reached 3 billion by July 2021.

Former US President Donald Trump banned major China-based mobile apps, including TikTok, in August 2020 over national security concerns, saying the apps automatically collect large amounts of information from users.

In June 2021, President Joe Biden repealed executive orders issued by his predecessor, despite seeking an assessment of the risk associated with software applications associated with foreign adversaries.

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