Last week, Tencent filed a lawsuit against Toutiao asking for a token compensation of 1 yuan, or 15 cents USD. A week later on June 1st, Toutiao filed a lawsuit against Tencent to retaliate, but with a demand of 90 million yuan (US$14 million) in compensation.
In addition to monetary compensation, Toutiao also demanded a public apology from Tencent. According to Toutiao, Tencent has been intentionally filtering out content shared from Toutiao and Douyin – two of Bytedance’s flagship products – through its security software Tencent Mobility Manager.
Toutiao claimed that the aforementioned content filtering was done under the disguise of threshold values, software bugs, as well as others anti-competitive moves that Tencent intentionally deployed.
“For the purpose of consolidating Tencent’s monopoly in the industry, the 1 yuan lawsuit earlier was just one of the many corporate moves that Tencent has taken to oppress Toutiao’s competitiveness,” said a Toutiao staff familiar with the matter.