TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has a channel on its internal communication system where employees can post about friends or relatives, allowing their co-workers to assess potential partners.
While the channel is mostly used by employees in China, workers worldwide can access the platform, some of which feel uneasy about it.
As the world becomes increasingly digital, many companies rely on platforms like Slack or Teams to carry out day-to-day operations. Others, meanwhile, have created their own, and not just for work chatter.
ByteDance-owned TikTok utilizes its own internal communication system, Lark, which, like Slack, allows for different channels dedicated to different operations and tasks. Among the run-of-the-mill work channels, such as feedback, updates, and work discussions, there is one that stands out: “Meet Cute.”
The Meet Cute channel is dedicated to matchmaking, where employees can showcase their family members, friends, or acquaintances to their coworkers through a feed of posts resembling typical dating app profiles, complete with details like height and weight, Forbes first reported.
On the Meet Cute channel, a disclaimer is prominently displayed: “The company is not responsible for mediating disputes.”
While users of Meet Cute are primarily based in China, TikTok employees worldwide, including those in the U.S., can reportedly use the platform.
However, a New York-based TikTok employee (who chose to remain anonymous) told Entrepreneur that Meet Cute is essentially only used in China. Lark is their version of Slack but also has app extensions, and while she knows it’s an option within Lark, she can’t access it.
“We can’t see Meet Cute at all on our end,” she said.
Still, the internal workplace matchmaking practice is common in China, where multiple tech giants (Alibaba, Meituan, and Huawei) reportedly offer similar dating forums.
Lik Sam Chan, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told Forbes that before China’s economic opening in 1978, workplaces served as both offices and social organizations and that, now, some companies today fulfill a similar role in employees’ lives, particularly at big tech campuses where employees spend extended hours at work.
“If you can’t date outside the company because you’re at the company all the time, then you look inward, and I guess that’s why these services appear,” Chan told the outlet.
The channel also states that Meet Cute’s primary purpose is to introduce external friends to ByteDance colleagues, and personal information of internal employees, including oneself, should not be posted.
Comments on the page often encompass TikTok and ByteDance employees evaluating posted individuals as potential partners. One discussion involved classifying a woman as a “Po,” indicating high priority, while another focused on comparing women’s weights.
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