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ByteDance Ltd. is an Internet technology company headquartered in Beijing. It was founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012.

ByteDance’s core product, Toutiao (“Headlines”), is a content platform in China and worldwide. Toutiao started out as a news recommendation engine and gradually evolved into a platform delivering content in a variety of formats, such as texts, images, question-and-answer posts, microblogs, and videos. Toutiao offers its users personalized information feeds that are powered by machine learning algorithms. A content feed is updated based on what the machine learns about a user’s reading preferences.

ByteDance acquired music start-up musical.ly and combined it with Douyin into a single application under the TikTok name. It also runs BuzzVideo and Vigo Video.

ByteDance had over 800 million daily active users (over 1 billion accumulated users) across all of its content platforms as of November 2018. The company was valued at $78 billion as of November 2018 and is considered one of the most valuable unicorns in the world. The company has strategic partnerships with Communist Party of China-supported ventures in Beijing and Shanghai. ByteDance is backed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, SoftBank Group, Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic, and Hillhouse Capital Group. ByteDance has garnered public attention over allegations that it works closely with the Communist Party of China to censor and surveil content related to Uyghurs and, in particular, of content pertaining to Xinjiang re-education camps.

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