Yu claims that ByteDance "has served as a useful propaganda tool for the Chinese Communist Party."
He accused his former employer of "nationalistic content [that] served to both increase engagement on ByteDance's websites and to promote support of the CCP."
Yu from Aug. 2017 to Nov. 2018 served as head of engineering for ByteDance's U.S. offices. He claims the CCP "had a special office or unit in the company, which was sometimes referred to as the 'Committee'."
Although the “Committee” wasn’t employed by ByteDance, it served to advance “core Communist values,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit also claims that the CCP could access U.S. user data by using a “backdoor channel in the code."
According to the complaint: "Shortly after beginning his employment, Mr. Yu became aware that ByteDance had for years engaged in a worldwide scheme (including in California) to steal and profit from the content of others."
The lawsuit, which was first reported by The New York Times, comes at a time when TikTok is facing calls for a U.S. ban unless ByteDance sells its stake in America’s version of the app.