Incident 190: ByteDance Allegedly Trained "For You" Algorithm Using Content Scraped without Consent from Other Social Platforms

Description: ByteDance allegedly scraped short-form videos, usernames, profile pictures, and descriptions of accounts on Instagram, Snapchat, and other sources, and uploaded them without consent on Flipagram, TikTok’s predecessor, in order to improve its “For You” algorithm's performance on American users.


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Alleged: ByteDance developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed Instagram users , Snapchat users and American social media users.

Incident Stats

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Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam
ByteDance Made Fake Accounts With Content Scraped From Instagram and Snapchat, Former Employees Say · 2022

The China-based company scraped public accounts and then duplicated them on Flipagram, a predecessor to TikTok, according to four former employees and documents viewed by BuzzFeed News.

In 2017, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, scraped s…

TikTok owner ByteDance scraped content from Instagram and others to push predecessor app · 2022

The company repurposed content from other platforms as a growth hack for Flipagram.

To fuel the rise of its app Flipagram, TikTok parent company Bytedance scraped profiles, videos, usernames and other content from Instagram and other social…

TikTok owner ByteDance accused of scraping content from Instagram and Snapchat for its older app Flipagram · 2022

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance made fake accounts with content taken from Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms and posted them on Flipagram in 2017, according to a new report today from BuzzFeed News. The report says the …

TikTok's parent ByteDance made fake accounts scraping content from Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms, claims report · 2022

Chinese short-video-making app TikTok's parent company ByteDance allegedly made fake accounts with content taken from Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms, a new report has claimed.

According to BuzzFeed News, the company th…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.