While the TikTok social network has long claimed that Americans’ data is stored outside of China, the company is now backtracking and explaining that there are exceptions for content creators. Their data is treated differently than “normal users”.
TikTok has acknowledged that some sensitive information about US creators who sign up to earn money through the app is stored in China. On Friday, June 16, TikTok responded to a letter addressed to the CEO of the platform, Shaw Zi Qiu, by bipartisan leaders in the United States Senate. The latter has raised concerns about Shou Zi Chew’s “inaccurate assurances” to Congress about where user data is stored in the United States. A few weeks after the social network’s CEO told a parliamentary committee that “US data is permanently stored in Virginia and Singapore,” according to an investigation by Forbes It revealed that TikTok had stored the financial information of its top American and European stars, including those from the TikTok Creator Fund, on servers located in China. After these revelations, Democratic Sen Richard Blumenthal Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn Ask for answers.
In its response to the mail, TikTok explained that there is a difference between “US user data collected by the app” and information that creators provide to TikTok in order to compensate for what they post. The former is stored in data centers in the United States and Singapore. The platform did not explicitly say where the other data was stored. A set of internal documents were obtained by Forbes It showed that tax forms, social security numbers and other information about content creators and third-party sellers were stored in China: payments for each are processed by tools from ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, which is based in China.
“We were asked about protected user data the app collected, and our testimony focused on that data, not the creator’s data.”
TikTok responded to Senate leaders on June 16
“We stand by the statements our company leaders made to Congress,” TikTok wrote in its letter. We were asked about protected user data the app collected, and our testimony focused on that data, not creator data. Data about creators is often an exception, the letter explains.
“Protected data” is “user data that the US government identifies as requiring additional protection,” the letter says. However, it notes that there are “limited exceptions” that TikTok says “were identified by TikTok’s comprehensive, multi-year negotiations with the CFIUS,” the government body charged with reaching the US national security agreement. That would allow the app to continue working in the United States.
The letter states that these “limited exceptions” include all of the following categories: “general data, commercial metrics, interoperable data, and certain data about content creators, if they voluntarily sign up for a commercial program to be powered by TikTok to reach new audiences and monetize content.”
TikTok believes the article he wrote Forbes The quote in your post refers to certain creator data, such as signed contracts and related documents for US creators who enter into a business relationship with TikTok, and information collected outside of applying the standard experience,” the social network wrote to US senators.” Companies, We have business relationships with businesses and individuals, and we collect and maintain certain information to comply with applicable audit, accounting, tax, and other regulations. »
Asked about the distinction made by TikTok between what the platform claims are “two different categories of data: protected data and data that falls within an exception,” Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn said. Forbes They were not convinced.
“We are deeply concerned that TikTok is storing personal and private data of Americans within the reach of the Chinese government,” the senators said in a joint statement. It appears that TikTok executives have repeatedly and willfully misled Congress when answering the question of how the platform secures and protects Americans’ data. TikTok’s response shows that Americans’ data remains exposed to Beijing’s brutal and pervasive spying regimes, despite claims by the misleading PR campaign of TikTok.”
They’re not the only members of Congress sounding the alarm about statements made by TikTok executives that appear to contradict the findings of the TikTok investigation. Forbes. at the beginning of the month, Marco Rubiothe vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the attorney general Merrick Garland to open an investigation with the Department of Justice to determine whether the TikTok CEO faked himself during his testimony. after one week, 13 House Republicans have done the same.
In response to a question from Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Masha Blackburn, TikTok responded that it had taken steps to determine whether TikTok Creator Fund data stored or accessed in China had been disclosed to officials in Beijing: “Neither the Chinese government nor the CCP requested this data from TikTok TikTok has not provided this data to the Chinese government or the CCP, nor will it.”
Finally, when asked whether the data of the TikTok Creator Fund stored in China has been or will be deleted from the country’s servers, the platform replied that the deletion is in progress for “protected data”. According to TikTok, this data does not include personal information that top content creators submit to get paid.
Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Alexandra S. Levin
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