TikTok took another step on Friday to address concerns about the security of its US user data. The popular social video app said in a blog post that it is changed the default location of US user datawith “100% of US user traffic is routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.”
TikTok has long posed, including that the Chinese government app could give access to US user data. In 2020 the US government ordered ByteDance, the app’s Beijing-based parent company, to divest TikTok. However, the selloff was not forced by the Biden administration.
Though TikTok has repeatedly stated that it does not share user data with the Chinese government, it has nonetheless partnered with Oracle to address US national security concerns.
Formerly Tiktok stored US user data in the United States, with a backup in Singapore. The company said Friday that those data centers will continue to be used for backups while it works to “move fully to Oracle Cloud servers in the US.” It added that it plans to eventually wipe US users’ private data from its own data centers.
“We know that we are among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we want to eliminate any doubt about the safety of US user data,” wrote Albert Calamug, who works on US security policy for TikTok, in the blog post on Friday .
Despite these moves, concerns remain about who might have access to US data, regardless of where it resides. On Friday, BuzzFeed News reported that “China-based ByteDance employees have repeatedly accessed non-public data on US TikTok users,” citing leaked audio from internal company meetings. Engineers in China reportedly had access to US data between September 2021 and January 2022, although the timeframe could be longer.
TikTok didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but spokeswoman Maureen Shanahan told BuzzFeed News that they “continuously work to validate our security standards and engage reputable, independent third parties to test our defenses.”
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