LONDON — TikTok said Friday it is planning two more European data centers as the popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app seeks to allay growing data privacy concerns among users in the West.
TikTok has come under fire from authorities in Europe and the United States over concerns it may collect and transmit large amounts of user data to China.
The company’s general manager of European operations, Rich Waterworth, said in a blog post that the company is “finalizing plans” with a third-party provider for a second data center in Ireland. Last year, we announced our first center.
TikTok is also in talks to open a third data center in Europe without specifying a location.
“In terms of local data storage, we are looking to expand our data storage capacity in Europe as the community grows,” says Waterworth.
Data for TikTok users in Europe will be migrated to the new center starting this year, Waterworth said.
TikTok is hugely popular among young people, but because it is owned by China, Beijing is using it to collect data on Western users and spread pro-Chinese narratives and misinformation. There is growing concern that TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020.
A senior European Union official warned CEO Shou Zi Chew last month that the company would have to comply with comprehensive new digital rules for the 27-country block.
The Digital Services Act requires online platforms and technology companies with more than 45 million users to take special measures to clean up illegal content and disinformation.
TikTok reported on Friday that it has 125 million monthly active users in the EU, surpassing the threshold for additional scrutiny under new rules due to come into force later this year.
Including non-EU countries such as the UK and Switzerland, TikTok has 150 million users.
Google, Twitter, Apple, Facebook and Instagram will also face tougher EU scrutiny, according to monthly user numbers released in time for Friday’s deadline.
Facebook has 255 million monthly active users and Instagram has 250 million, according to parent company Meta. According to Twitter, he has 109 million users, both registered and not signed in.
Apple said its iOS App Store has more than 45 million users, but didn’t give a specific number. Google says he has 332 million signed-in users on the company’s search service, and 401.7 million signed-in users on YouTube.