This video shows Chen Zhou, a Chinese motivational speaker who lost both his legs in an accident at the age of 13
Is the founder of TikTok, the globally popular video-sharing app, an amputee with no legs? A series of videos making the rounds on social media seem to claim so. The videos feature a man without legs riding a scooter and using what looks like wooden blocks to walk up the stage.
One person shared the video on Facebook, writing, “Tiktok Chairman is just like the founder of 99 Speedmart. Also, OKU but so successful. Despite his disability, he still made it to become Chairman of Tiktok. Lessons learnt are ‘never to say die when one is not dead’! With determination and sheer grit, We are glad he made it to his pinnacle of success!”
India Today Fact Check found that this video does not show the founder of TikTok, but a Chinese motivational speaker Chen Zhou.
In one of the keyframes of the video, we noticed text in Mandarin, which loosely translates to: “Inspirational Master Young Singer” and “Famous Chinese Speaker”. Using this clue, we performed a keyword search on Google and found an article by China Daily about a disabled motivational speaker, Chen Zhou. The article featured some photos of Zhou, climbing a mountain and doing pushups using his special wooden “shoes”. This was the same person seen in the viral video.
We then found several media reports about Zhou, a Chinese motivational speaker who uses two wooden boxes as his legs. The 41-year-old was born to a poor family in a village in Shandong province. He lost both of his legs at age 13 when he sneaked onto a train carriage hoping to get to a large city but jumped off after finding it was going the wrong way and was hit by another train. Zhou is now a well-known speaker and gives speeches at stadiums, schools, and hospitals in China. He also appeared as a speaker on TED Talks.
Zhang Yiming founded ByteDance, the company that developed TikTok. He, however, stepped down as the chairman of TikTok owner and was replaced by Liang Rubo in 2021. Yiming as can be seen in a number of videos of him, is not an amputee. Given below is a comparison between him and the man in the viral video.