TikTok assures US officials it has strong data security, denies recent report

in General Discussion
In response to an inquiry from lawmakers, TikTok countered recent reports about its data practices and has shared a number of details about how it limits Chinese access to user data in the U.S.

TikTok on a smartphone
TikTok on a smartphone

Following a BuzzFeed report that Chinese ByteDance engineers had sweeping access to U.S. user data for a period of time, fourteen Republican lawmakers and a Republican commissioner from the FCC penned various demanding TikTok provide answers about its privacy and security.

Amid calls for a ban, TikTok officially responded on Thursday in a letter dated June 30. In the letter, obtained by The New York Times, the company pushed back on the BuzzFeed report, saying that its claims were "incorrect" and "not supported by facts." It also gave details about how it protects user data in the U.S.

"We're proud to be able to serve a global community of more than a billion people who use TikTok to creatively express themselves and be entertained," the company wrote. "We know we are among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of U.S. user data."

For example, TikTok acknowledged that China-based employees may have access to U.S. user data, but only after being subject to a "series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based security team."

The company also says it has long stored U.S. user data on servers in both the U.S. and Singapore. It added that it has not been asked by Chinese government officials for any U.S. user data, and stated that it wouldn't provide it comply with orders to do so.

Additionally, TikTok shared details about an internal endeavor dubbed "Project Texas" that seeks to "help build trust with users and key stakeholders." The project is focused on evaluating and revising TikTok internal policies and operational controls.

This isn't the first time that the U.S. government has scrutinized TikTok. Back in 2020, the Trump Administration attempted to get ByteDance to sell TikTok to a U.S.-based firm under threat of a total ban in the country.

Since then, however, plans to force a sale of TikTok to U.S. companies appears to have fizzled out under President Joe Biden.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 9
    maltzmaltz Posts: 474member
    AppleInsider: TikTok assures US officials it has strong data security, denies recent report

    Both articles contain pretty much the same hard facts, but the difference in spin/tone of the headlines is interesting.  (The contrast stuck out to me because these two articles were adjacent in my RSS feed list.  lol)
  • Reply 2 of 9
    waveparticlewaveparticle Posts: 1,497member
    Read Bloomberg article words carefully. You can see that it is fooling people.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    sreesree Posts: 152member
    Let me tell you how these things work in chinese companies. 

    For those uninitiated, Huawei basically copied cisco code and made a competing router and became the largest router company in the world. 

    I had a friend working at Huawei a few years ago. They were facing some critical bug in the router code. My friend and rest of the team figured out the issue, and suggested a particular fix. The way it worked is, a only-chinese 'architect' team would have to approve that fix. Two days later they respond back with a different way to fix that issue, and ask the team to implement that. When these folks checked, they found that the bug had been fixed this way at cisco. It seemed like this 'architect' team had some kind of back-channel into the cisco development team (possibly through another chinese developer there), and when required they would just pull up the code and thus stayed in sync.

    Its a chinese company, they will send all the private data to chinese govt. Of that we can be sure. 

  • Reply 4 of 9
    leighrleighr Posts: 255member
    We all know that business ethics do not exist in China. Combine that with a government that demands access to all your information or else you “disappear”, and you’ve got no data privacy whatsoever. “Strong data security” does not mean that it is not shared, it just means that it is securely shared. 
  • Reply 5 of 9
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    This company is genius.

    They promote stupidity in the American version. Girls dancing like hoes, stupid challenges, dangerous scenarios. But in the Chinese version, stupidity is banned and they promote education. The Chinese Tik Tok is filled with fun facts, tutorials and encouragement while ours is filled with people copying stupid dances.

    In the Chinese version feminism is banned while it’s promoted in the U.S. version. Anyone who acknowledges male rights is banned while feminists completely humiliating and threatening males are promoted. One of the biggest Tik Tokers in America is an openly sexist woman.
    edited July 2022 waveparticleCluntBaby92h2pwatto_cobrawilliamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 9
    amar99amar99 Posts: 181member
    if you believe this then you'd believe RU would never invade Ukraine
  • Reply 7 of 9
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,867member
    BuzzFeed says there is a security problem: Not sure if I can trust their reporting
    TicToc denies it: They are playing the CYA game. Don't believe them at all.
    Republican lawmakers start asking hard questions: They are facing an election campaign and are hoping to distract voters. Don't believe them either.
    Liars screaming at liars.

    At this point I stay away from TicToc. Not because it's a security risk, but because it's got nothing of value to waste my time on.

    EDIT: The article says Buzzfeed, but a number of your comments say it was a Bloomberg article. Not sure why as there's no reference to them in this article or linked ones. In any event, as Bloomberg hasn't retracted their BS about how all servers in the world have Chinese spy chips installed, I think of them as even less credible than anyone else on the list.
    edited July 2022 twokatmewwatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 9
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,082member

    "TikTok assures US officials it has strong data security, denies recent report"

    Isn't that like the fox telling the chicken coop owner that his chickens are safe because he's guarding the hen house? 
  • Reply 9 of 9
    It's fun to see the pot calling the kettle black. Given the abuse of private information by US-based tech companies for the past decade or more, my policy remains to avoid providing identifying details wherever possible. The surveillance industry is morally repugnant.
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