Faced with concerns in Europe, TikTok lifts the veil on its operation

by Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – In response to concerns about the privacy and security of its young users, TikTok plans to allow European researchers and policymakers to observe its content moderation processes, the operation of its recommender technology and the data processing process.

The Chinese video-sharing app announced on Tuesday that it would open a European Center for Transparency and Accountability, first virtually, then in premises in Ireland which are slated to open next year.

TikTok, owned by the company ByteDance, has more than 100 million users in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted its popularity with young people locked in their homes.

“We recognize our responsibility to earn the trust of our community and the general public,” Cormac Keenan, TikTok Trust and Security Officer, said in a statement.

Last week, TikTok was the subject of a complaint filed in London regarding the protection of children’s privacy. According to the company, the complaints were unfounded.

In February, consumer associations in the European Union had already lodged numerous complaints against the company with authorities in 15 EU countries for alleged violation of Union consumer protection laws and for failing to failing to protect children from hidden advertisements and inappropriate content.

In the United States, some lawmakers have accused TikTok of sharing its users’ data with the Chinese government. The company rejected the claims, saying US user data is stored in the US and China has no jurisdiction over content that is not owned in the country itself.

(French version Dagmarah Mackos, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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