"Western governments have real concerns about China, and therefore as a Chinese-founded company we have a greater responsibility to show how we secure our users' data," said Theo Bertram, vice president. -president in charge of public policies in Europe.

The hugely popular video app, owned by giant ByteDance, is seeking to pledge after the European Commission's decision to ban the app from its staff's work devices, citing data security concerns.

Since then, similar measures have notably been taken by the European Parliament and by the Danish Parliament, while France is considering a ban for its civil servants.

In the EU, ByteDance is also under investigation by the Irish Privacy Authority, which suspects it of breaching EU data protection law (GDPR) regarding data processing. children's personal information and data transfers to China.

TikTok therefore wishes to replicate the model implemented in the United States with the Californian company Oracle, responsible since the summer of 2022 for hosting user data in the country and auditing its algorithms.

"All of our code is visible to Oracle. We can't update without going through them," Bertram said.

If the project, which has already cost the app $1.5 billion, is approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), “Oracle will send updates to the TikTok app directly” on mobile phone application stores, a "protection" which will also benefit Europeans because the application "will be the same", he specified.

"To really convince public opinion, we have to do the same in Europe," said Theo Bertram.

“We are working to create three new data centers and we will also work with a partner,” he added, without giving further details at this stage.

Europe is TikTok's biggest market with 150 million users, including 25 million in the UK.

Globally, the application claims more than a billion users.

AFP, among more than a dozen fact-checking organizations, is paid by TikTok in several countries in Asia and Oceania, Europe, the Middle East and Spanish-speaking Latin America to verify videos that potentially contain false information.

The videos are deleted by TikTok if the AFP teams demonstrate that the information conveyed is false.

© 2023 AFP