TikTok Says China-Based Employees Can Access US User Data

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TikTok finally confirmed that it has allowed some of its China-based employees to access the US user data, Bloomberg reports.

TikTok is again at the top of the news for its data practices. A few weeks ago, some US senators accused TikTok of sending US user data abroad and allowing China-based employees to access the data from American users. The parent company ByteDance first denied the news, saying they’re not sending any data abroad. However, now the company has officially confirmed a backdoor to the US user data.

Besides clarifying the level of access, US senators wanted to know the role of these employees in shaping TikTok’s algorithm and whether any data of US users is shared with the Chinese government. Following the raising concerns, FTC asked Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores.


TikTok confirmed it allowed China-based employees to access US user data

On June 30, TikTok Chief Executive Officer Shou Zi Chew wrote a letter to concerned senators to clarify the company’s data-sharing practices. In that letter, he confirmed that some China-based employees could access certain information on TikTok’s US users. The information includes public videos and comments.

Also, Chew said the company is not sharing the data with the Chinese government and is subject to “robust cybersecurity controls.”

The Chinese video-sharing app said it’s collaborating with the US government to enhance the data security around that information. Protecting the data defined as “protected” by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) is also a priority for the company.


“TikTok’s response confirms our fears about the CCP’s influence in the company were well-founded,” Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn told Bloomberg. “The Chinese-run company should have come clean from the start, but it attempted to shroud its work in secrecy. Americans need to know if they are on TikTok, Communist China has their information.”

TikTok has launched a new plan called “Project Texas” to address the security concerns of US officials. As a part of this project, TikTok forms a partnership with Oracle to store the US user’s data within the country. This means the app will use domestic data centers for deploying the app and the algorithm.