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TikTok Reassures US Lawmakers Over Data Safeguards

TikTok has contacted senators over long-held fears that US user data could be passed on to China’s communist government

TikTok US data fears
The TikTok logo is pictured outside the company's US head office in Culver City, California, US. Photo: Reuters


Chinese-owned social media site TikTok has moved to reassure US lawmakers over their data security and national security fears.  

The video-sharing platform told US senators it was now working on a final agreement with the Biden Administration that would “fully safeguard user data and US national security interests,” according to a letter seen Friday by Reuters.

TikTok, owned by Chinese technology conglomerate ByteDance, is one of the world’s most popular social media apps, with more than 1 billion active users globally. It counts the United States as its largest market.

TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew told senators in the letter the short video app was working with Oracle Corp on “new advanced data security controls that we hope to finalise in the near future.”


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Last month, TikTok said it had completed migrating US users’ information to servers at Oracle but it was still using US and Singapore data centres for backup. 

TikTok’s letter acknowledged that China-based employees “can have access to TikTok US user data subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorisation approval protocols overseen by our US-based security team.”

TikTok said it expected “to delete US users’ protected data from our own systems and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the US.”

TikTok is working to build US-based engineering capacity to further reduce the need for data access across regions, the spokesperson added.


US Ordered ByteDance to Divest TikTok

Senator Blackburn, of Tennessee, said TikTok “should have come clean from the start but instead tried to shroud their work in secrecy.” She said TikTok needs to “come back and testify before Congress.”

The TikTok letter came nearly two years after a US national security panel ordered ByteDance to divest TikTok because of fears that US user data could be passed on to China’s communist government.

That order was not enforced after Joe Biden succeeded Donald Trump as US president last year. The panel, however, known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), is still conducting a national security review of the  company, according to the letter.

“We know we are among the most scrutinised platforms from a security standpoint and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data,” the letter said.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

US FCC Member Calls on Apple, Google to Dump TikTok App

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TikTok Moves US User Data to Domestic Oracle Servers



Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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