TikTok places European data centers for more trust in the EU

TikTok places European data centers for more trust in the EU

In an effort to regain the trust of European regulators and users, Tiktok has announced that it will build a series of data centers in Europe. The first branch opens in Dublin. This move marks a significant shift in the company’s policies to comply with the European Union’s (EU) stricter data protection standards.

In Europe, no fewer than 150 million people use the social media app. Tiktok, the company that has become extremely popular in Europe among young users in recent years, was warned at the beginning of this year to comply more with European privacy legislation. If TikTok does not do this, the app may be banned in Europe. “The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has strict rules and prohibits the transfer of personal data to countries outside the European Union, because the protection outside the EU is less. So TikTok is not allowed to transfer data to China, the United States or any other country outside the EU. There are a few exceptions to this ban, but everything indicates that TikTok does not comply with this,” says Gerrit-Jan Zwenne, professor of Law and the Information Society at Leiden University. Five years ago, the EU established the GDPR with the aim of strengthening and harmonizing the privacy and data protection of individuals in the European Union. It is not yet clear whether the information that TikTok collects will be shared with a Chinese intelligence service or the Chinese government.

Privacy and algorithm change

“By installing the new data centers, TikTok is trying to keep Europe on friendly terms.” TikTokers who live in the European Union can choose to turn off the personalized algorithm, so that Tiktok complies with the Digital Services Act (DSA), one of the European legislation that large online platforms must take stricter action against illegal videos and limits advertising options. Users must also have the option to use the platforms without using profiling, Dutch news platform NOS said.

“The personalized offer is fine, but under the GDPR you have to inform people properly and ask for permission. The addictive algorithm can end up users in a kind of rabbit hole. So there is more to pay attention to than just passing on personal data, but building a data center in Europe seems an obvious solution for this problem,” says Zwenne. The Rabbit Hole is an American term used to indicate someone getting confirmation of a particular viewpoint, resulting in an troubling, extremist polarized or surreal state or situation. On the internet, a rabbit hole frequently refers to an extremely engrossing and time-consuming topic. To keep the company as safe as possible, TikTok will work with an external company NCC. Two more data centers in Europe will be located in Ireland and in the Hamar region of Norway.

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