TikTok said on Friday that it is moving data from US users to Oracle servers stored in the US. Overshadowing its migration announcement was a damning report, after it claimed that TikTok employees in China had access to their US users’ data as recently as this January.
report from Buzzfeed NewsWhich cites recordings obtained from 80 TikTok internal meetings, claims that US employees of TikTok repeatedly consulted with their colleagues in China to understand how US user data flows because they have “Didn’t have permission or knowledge how to use the data on their own.”
“Everything is seen in China,” the report quoted an unnamed member of TikTok’s trust and security department as saying at the September 2021 meeting.
The report further casts doubt on the short video giant’s entanglement with Beijing, a long-running allegation promoted by former President Donald Trump, and public comments about the independence of the firm’s US unit.
US officials have expressed concern for years that TikTok could give China’s authoritarian government access to data that the firm collects from Americans and users in other countries. Matters escalated in September 2020, when the Trump administration said it would ban Chinese-owned mobile apps WeChat and TikTok from the US App Store.
TikTok – as well as its parent firm ByteDance – has publicly stated that it will never hand over data to US users. The firm also worked with Microsoft and Oracle to sell the US entity and explored selling stakes to US investors to comply with Trump’s order.
The Biden administration rescinded a Trump-era executive order and replaced it with one that called for a comprehensive review of several foreign-controlled apps that could pose a security threat to Americans and their data.
tik tok said a blog post friday In the United States “100% of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”, with an asterisk. “We still use our US and Singapore data centers for backup, but as we continue our work, we will be able to remove personal data of US users from our own data centers and on Oracle Cloud servers located in the US. expect to be fully pivoted”
The firm said it is “making operational changes,” including establishing US-based leadership to “fully manage US user data for TikTok.”
“These are important steps, but we can do much more. We know that we are among the most heavily tested platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubts about the security of US user data. have to do away with,” it added.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment on BuzzFeed News’s reporting.