TikTok makes fresh push to convince EU it won’t give data to China

Trevor Monteiro
Mar 9, 2023
Updated • Mar 9, 2023

As you most likely know, behind its innocent facade of offering you videos of dancing-next-door girls or funny animals and viral trends, TikTok is spyware from the Chinese government. Or at least, that’s what many seem to think about ByteDance’s enormously popular social media platform.

TikTok makes fresh push to convince EU it won’t give data to China

The most recent party to join the TikTok-is-spyware bandwagon is none other than the European Union. European Commission and European Parliament members are being instructed to delete this app from their work phones because of privacy concerns.

This is a huge blow for TikTok since it was already banned on all US federal government devices last December. Even though you might wonder who on Earth wants to watch political figures dancing on TikTok, it’s still a PR disaster for the company.

TikTok made a counter-offer in an attempt to reassure EU officials that EU data will be protected. To do so, the company plans to build three European data centers which will store the information of TikTok’s 150 million users in this region. A third party will audit these data centers. The cost is around USD 1.3 billion annually.

This is similar to Project Texas in the USA, where the company plans to store data. It’s called Project Clover for the European market. Currently, the data centers which store European user info are located in Singapore and the US.

The company claims, of course, that concerns are unsubstantiated. “The Chinese government has never asked us for data and if they would, we would refuse to do so”, mentioned Theo Bertram, the policy chief for TikTok Europe, pinky promise and all.

It’s interesting to live in a world so full of data that you don’t even know what’s true or false anymore. But I digress. 

The company mentioned that for very specific reasons and with strict protocols, employees outside of Europe will still be able to access this data. It’s not clear what kind of employees and what kind of “strict” protocols will be in place, however.

Additionally, according to TikTok’s head of privacy in Europe, the company needs to allow data transfers to other countries because the content is supposed to be shared outside of the continent. 

ByteDance also plays down the importance, if there’s any, of it being a Chinese company. Just like The Beatles, ByteDance considers itself “bigger than Jesus” by analogy. The company claims to be “global”, comparing itself to Google and TikTok being its YouTube.

Whereas TikTok claims to be innocent, it’s not only a suspicion that fuels Western concerns over the app. The company itself had to acknowledge the massive data breach last year when employees had access to sensitive information from users, which in turn triggered the US officials’ reaction.

There are more dark clouds on TikTok’s horizon, too. There’s a US Senate bill that proposes banning the video platform altogether from the United States. The White House is supporting this bill as well.

TikTok vs the West. Will the company convince EU officials?


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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments (https://www.ghacks.net/chatgpt-gets-schooled-by-princeton-university/#comments). Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If ghacks.net intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this Friend.tech as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/23/what-is-friend-tech/] and it appears there but as well here at [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/08/how-to-follow-everyone-on-threads/]

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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