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TikTok plans two new European data centres

Written by Thu 2 Mar 2023

Social media giant, TikTok, plans to open two data centres in Europe, according to a senior executive at the company. One will be located in Ireland, which will be the company’s second in the country. The location of its second European data centre is yet to be announced.

Opening new data storage facilities in the EU is part of the company’s data governance strategy for Europe, which the company states is ‘focused on building trust with our community by demonstrating to them that their data is secure’. The TikTok European data governance strategy includes limiting employee access to personal data and minimising international data flows, in addition to local storage of European user data.

Rich Waterworth, TikTok’s GM of European Operations, said in a blog post: “We are at an advanced stage of finalising a plan for a second data centre in Ireland with a third-party service provider, in addition to the site announced last year. We are also in talks to establish a third data centre in Europe to further complement our planned operations in Ireland. European TikTok user data will begin migrating this year, continuing into 2024.”

This strategy is, in part, a response to growing governmental concerns over the security of user data. In the United States, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a bill that would allow President Biden to ban TikTok – ‘the most far-reaching U.S. restriction on any social app’. The same legislation would also require the President to impose a ban on any entity that could transfer personal information to the control of China.

Recently, more than 30 US states, Canada, and EU policy institutions have banned TikTok from state-owned devices, citing concerns that the app would provide the Chinese government back-door access to sensitive or proprietary information.

Additionally, the company has reported an average of 125 million monthly active users in the EU for Q4 2022. This places TikTok squarely in the realm of one of the largest online platforms in the EU, which are subject to stricter online regulations under the Digital Standards Act (DSA).

According to the DSA, if an online platform has more than 45 million average monthly users, it must ‘undertake risk management, external and independent auditing, share data with authorities and researchers, and adopt a code of conduct’.

Companies that meet the standards for very large online platforms must meet these compliance standards within four months, or be subject to fines and penalties under the law.

In September 2022, TikTok faced a potential fine of $29 million by the UK for children’s privacy failures.

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Written by Thu 2 Mar 2023

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