TikTok, the video app owned by China, said Friday it was moving all data produced by its US users to servers operated by the Silicon Valley company Oracle, in an attempt to convince the US government that it would personal information of Americans to the Chinese government.
But TikTok added that it would still store its own backups of that information, potentially complicating those efforts.
The app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, said: in a blog post that it expected to eventually “remove US users’ private data from our own data centers and turn it entirely to Oracle cloud servers” in the United States. It was not said when that would take place.
“For more than a year, we’ve been working with Oracle on several measures as part of our commercial relationship to better protect our app, systems and the security of US user data,” said Albert Calamug, who works for TikTok’s public policy division. , said in the post.
The video app made its announcement before BuzzFeed News published an article explaining how TikTok employees found it difficult to successfully shield China’s data. According to recordings the news channel said it obtained, TikTok employees said Chinese technicians had access to US data only this year.
“As we have publicly stated, we have engaged world-class internal and external security experts to help us strengthen our data security efforts,” TikTok said in a statement. The company added that it had set up a unit in May, led from the United States, to “provide greater focus and governance” on Americans’ data security.
In 2020, President Donald J. Trump ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok over fears it could reveal Americans’ personal information to Beijing. While the White House was said to have had struck a deal to sell some of the app to Oracle and others, nothing ever came of it. The Biden administration has continued to explore TikTok and other opportunities for Chinese companies to monitor US data.
A White House spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Treasury Department, which is a member of the committee investigating foreign investment in the United States, declined to comment. Oracle also declined to comment.