TikTok Promises Billions To Europe, Ramps Up Focus On Data Security

As part of its Project Clover security and sustainability program, TikTok has announced a €12 billion investment in Europe over the next 10 years.

The company, which has been trying to distance itself from concerns around user data being accessed by the Chinese government, says it has embarked on the first phase of turning on its new data center in Norway that will “ultimately store European TikTok user data.”

“We will now begin installing and testing servers in this first building, with the goal of commencing user data migration by next summer,” the company reports, adding that the two other buildings at the Norway site will begin storing data toward the end of 2025 -- making up the largest data center in Europe, running entirely on renewable energy.



The social-media company first announced its plan to open European data centers in 2020. The first center, based in Ireland, became operational this past September.

All of this work revolves around TikTok's ongoing efforts to prove that sensitive user data is not accessible to China's government, and that the company is complying with new European data regulations put in place by Europe's Digital Services Act (DSA).

Over the past year, several countries in Europe -- as well as the European Parliament and the European Commission -- banned TikTok from staff phones due to concerns that TikTok's attachment to its China-owned parent company ByteDance is putting user security at risk.

Project Clover aims to address these concerns via the data centers and new data access and control processes.

For example, the company has begun working with the NCC Group, an independent third-party security company that oversees TikTok's approach to data security, “including auditing and verifying our data controls and protections, monitoring data flows, and reporting any incidents.”

The company says it has also implemented “privacy enhancing technologies” to double down on its processes to protect user data.

“We understand the skepticism. And that's precisely why we're not just doing the step of putting the data in Europe, building that digital barrier around it,” Theo Bertram, TikTok's vice president of government relations and public policy, told Reuters. “We are taking the extra step of saying we know you're skeptical about us, and so we know we have to earn that trust.”

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