THE CHIEF of TikTok said the video-sharing giant was pumping heaving investment into US data security in a bid to allay fears from across the Atlantic.
Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore earlier today, TikTok boss Shou Zi Chew said the firm was working on ‘Project Texas’, which would isolate sensitive data from American users, meaning it would only be accessible by tech staff in the States.
Chew said that the app, which has over a billion people across the world, was working with software firm Oracle to address Washington’s ongoing national security concerns about TikTok.
Chew said the changes were “extremely difficult and expensive” to build.
Buzzfeed reported in June that, based on leaked recordings of TikTok meetings, China-based staff had access to confidential US data.
Just this week, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau was concerned about the Chinese government’s influence on users’ data.
This side of the pond, the firm, which is owned by Bytedance, told European users last month their data can be accessed by employees in China.
The social media platform said under the new privacy update staff are allowed to access this data to ensure that the platform is “consistent, enjoyable and safe”.
Crucially, it means European user data could be accessed from China, Brazil, Canada, Israel, the US and Singapore.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently found that TikTok could have processed personal data of children under the age of 13 without parental permission between May 2018 and July 2020.
The firm could be forced to pay out a fine of £27m after the ICO issued “notice of intent”.
Despite heavy criticisms of TikTok, the social media boss seized the opportunity to take a swipe at Twitter.
Discussing the firm’s mass layoffs, Chew said: “The way we are organised is one where we don’t need to lay off half the workforce to achieve the efficiency levels we want to achieve.”
Since taking over the firm in October, new ‘Chief Twit’ Musk has laid off half of the workforce, with more than 3,700 people losing their jobs.
However, Chew did tell the forum that it was “a bit too early to tell” when it came to Musk’s leadership.