To justify this practice, the social network guarantees that this access allows it “ensure a reliable, enjoyable and safe TikTok experience”. This access to data could, for example, be used to improve the performance of the recommendation algorithms used to suggest content to users, indicates the Guardian.
Controlled and limited access
TikTok also claims that employee access to data is made “Subject to a series of robust security controls and approval protocols, and through methods recognized by the GDPR”. “We focus on limiting the number of employees with access to European user data, minimizing data flows outside the region and local storage of European user data.”explains Elaine Fox. Currently stored in the US and Singapore, this information is expected to be hosted in Ireland as early as 2023.
TikTok’s announcement comes as the issue of employee access to data in China is of concern to several countries, particularly the United States. In June, the BuzzFeed website revealed that employees of ByteDance, the platform’s parent company based in China, repeatedly accessed US users’ personal information. Beyond the employees, the fear that the Chinese government may consult these data is worrying. In this regard, said TikTok general manager Shou Zi Chew a letter addressed to US senators made public in July that no data had been shared with Chinese government officials after reporting that US user information could be viewed by employees in the country.