TikTok admits some user data stored in China

According to a Forbes exclusive published on June 21, TikTok has confirmed that there are exceptions to the claim CEO Shou Zi Chew previously made that the platform’s user data is stored on servers in the US and Singapore.

Concerned about the validity of Chew’s responses at a congressional hearing in March, US lawmakers penned a letter to TikTok stating that the information he gave was “inaccurate”. Their concerns resulted from Forbes’ recent investigation revealing that TikTok has stored the financial data of some major content creators on servers based in China.

In its formal response to US lawmakers’ letter following the Forbes investigation, TikTok wrote “We stand by the statements made by our company executives to Congress. We were asked about, and our testimony focused on, the protected user data collected in the app—not creator data.” The company distinguishes between protected user data, which is stored in Singapore and Virginia as Chew stated, and creator data, some of which is stored on servers based in China.

Chew was called before Congress in March amid growing concerns over TikTok’s potential ties to the Chinese government via its Chinese parent company, ByteDance. Senators’ concerns about the platform include its impact on young people’s mental health and the potential erosion of democratic processes as a result of Chinese government influence. 

Despite the clarification over different types of data, senators Blumenthal and Balckburn told Forbes that TikTok has “repeatedly and intentionally” misled Congress, suggesting they will remain on high alert over TikTok’s alleged threats to US national security.

“TikTok’s response makes it crystal clear that Americans’ data is still exposed to Beijing’s draconian and pervasive spying regimes”, the statement from the two senators read.


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