A new report has recently emerged that TikTok staff in China are able to access data from users in the European Union and the UK. The China-based video-sharing platform has now come under intense scrutiny from authorities around the world over data safety concerns.
TikTok’s owner ByteDance has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government and claims that its current privacy policies are “based on a demonstrated need to do their job”.
However, there are rising fears that data could be passed on to the Chinese government and the US has recently considered banning the app.
TikTok says that its policies apply to “the European Economic Area, United Kingdom, and Switzerland” and the company is subject to strict regulations under the GDPR in the EU. It also said that the app doesn’t collect any precise location data from European users.
In a statement, TikTok’s head of privacy for Europe, Elaine Fox, said that the team aims to make sure the platform is “consistent, enjoyable, and safe” for all users.
She added: “We allow certain employees within our corporate group located in Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States remote access to TikTok European user data.”
“Our efforts are centred on limiting the number of employees with access to European user data, minimising data flows outside of the region, and storing European user data locally. Our approach is subject to a series of robust security controls and approval protocols, and by way of methods that are recognised under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)“.
In the UK, Parliament’s account was recently shut down over concerns about data being passed to the Chinese government. The app has also been investigated by The Irish Data Protection Commission recently over two privacy-related issues.
TikTok is the world’s fastest-growing social media app and has been downloaded almost 4 billion times, making billions in revenue from in-app spending since its launch in 2017.
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