TikTok’s Demanding Work Culture Is Under More Scrutiny

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

TikTok’s Demanding Work Culture Is Under More Scrutiny
Image by Shutterstock

More TikTok employees have spoken out about the social media firm’s demanding work culture—criticizing the company for pressuring them to work long hours that ate into their work-life balance.

Several former TikTok employees told the Wall Street Journal that managers at the video-sharing app urged them to work through evenings and weekends, resulting in increased stress, anxiety and health issues. The U.S.-based employees—many of whom worked out of TikTok’s U.S. headquarters in Culver City—noted that they were often obligated to attend meetings during typically non-work hours with colleagues in China (TikTok is owned by Beijing-based tech firm ByteDance) and respond to messages at all hours.


Multiple former employees told the WSJ that they averaged 85 hours of meetings per week at TikTok and often had to start their workweek on Sunday afternoon, in order to sync with Monday morning meetings in China. That and the company’s high productivity expectations led to sleep deprivation and weight fluctuation for some.

The pressure to match international schedules ramped up last year after TikTok replaced Los Angeles-based interim CEO Vanessa Pappas with Singapore-based Shou Zi Chew, the WSJ noted.

TikTok’s booming popularity in recent years made it the world’s most visited website in 2021, with over 1 billion monthly active users—momentum that the app has carried into 2022 as the world’s most downloaded app in the first quarter, according to digital analytics company Sensor Tower.

But as TikTok has grown, the demanding work culture inside the company has prompted several employees to speak out. Last month, ex-TikTok account director Pabel Martinez said TikTok was pushing its U.S. employees to channel China’s “996” work culture, referring to demands that they work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days a week.

In a statement to the WSJ, a TikTok spokesperson said the company is “committed to building an equitable platform and business that allows both our community and our employees to thrive.”

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually
Photo courtesy of AmazeVR

Virtual reality startup AmazeVR now has $17 million to further expand its VR concert experience.

The West Hollywood-based company’s latest funding amounts to a bet that virtual shows, a staple of the pandemic, are here to stay. Mirae Asset Capital led the Series B funding round, with Mirae Asset Financial Group subsidiary (Mirae Asset Venture Investment), CJ Investment, Smilegate Investment, GS Futures and LG Technology Ventures investing again. Mobile game maker Krafton joined the group—but South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM’s stake reveals AmazeVR’s plans to expand into K-pop world.

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