TikTok promised to safeguard American data but it’s not

Although the video-sharing app claims to have walled off American data, staff members claim that data is occasionally shared with its parent company in China. According to TikTok, the company has invested $1.5 billion in developing an effort to persuade American lawmakers that the well-known video-sharing app is secure. In order to ensure that the app’s algorithm produced content without intervention from China, where its parent company, ByteDance, is based, TikTok executives made a public pledge to deliberately wall off user data from American users and to bring in engineers and other parties to ensure this effort.

Code-named Project Texas, this unique standalone organization manages U.S. data and content recommendations on its app — and it’s struggling to get it right.

Where is the TikTok American data breakdown?

Internal documents seen by The Wall Street Journal and interviews with current and former employees reveal that supervisors occasionally instruct employees to share data with coworkers in different departments of the company and with ByteDance employees without following formal procedures. Private information like a user’s email address, birthdate, and IP address may occasionally be included in such data.

Project Texas staff find it challenging to keep up with all the updates to TikTok’s algorithm since ByteDance personnel in China update it so often, and employees in the US can’t check and catch every issue. Hence, things happen before they can be addressed or stopped.

Although TikTok has pledged to provide laptops and software controlled by their independent division rather than ByteDance to Project Texas workers, several experienced delays in receiving the new equipment. Some employees are concerned about the security of the tools and gadgets, especially the laptops they own from ByteDance.

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, TikTok simply needs to know how long you spend on a piece of material (even seconds or a second look) to determine what you desire. The program tracks your every hesitation or rewatch.

TikTok’s difficulties with its Project Texas division highlight its difficulties safeguarding American data on a worldwide social media platform. Although it doesn’t seem like the Chinese government is trying to obtain user data from Americans, this indicates that TikTok’s infrastructure is vulnerable.

TikTok spokesperson said they are “voluntarily implementing our plan to protect U.S. user data.”

Featured Image Credit: Cottonbro Studio; Pexels

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is an editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind, Editor in Chief for Calendar, editor at Entrepreneur media, and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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