After a failed push to force TikTok into US ownership by the Trump Administration in 2020, the platform is now close to re-aligning its internal storage to ensure that data from US citizens is not accessible by China-based groups.
According to Reuters, TikTok is nearing a deal for Oracle to store its US user information, which would separate the platform’s US and Chinese databases, essentially siloing US user information away from other regions.
That would help to address ongoing concerns about TikTok’s Chinese roots, with parent company ByteDance still beholden to China’s strict cybersecurity laws, which require it to share user information with the CCP on request.
TikTok’s links to the Chinese Government were the core of the Trump Administration’s concerns about the app, which saw the US Government threaten to cut TikTok off entirely in the US, unless it could be sold into US ownership. Various suitors then moved in to acquire the US arm of the company, with Oracle eventually getting close to buying the app outright, before the push was abandoned by new US President Joe Biden in June last year.
But even so, concerns still linger about the potential for TikTok to share US user information with Chinese authorities. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further stoked those fears, with China backing Russia’s action, which pits the world’s military superpowers against each other, and once again raises concerns that China could view the US in a directly adversarial way.
As such, while the main push to separate TikTok from Chinese ownership has subsided, there is still an underlying movement to address the issue. TikTok, which now has over a billion users, and has seen huge success in the US, will do all that it can to secure its business opportunities in this respect, and if a deal with Oracle provides more assurance, and reduces regulatory scrutiny, it will pursue such.
The arrangement is not official as yet, but it would be another key milestone in TikTok’s ongoing growth plans.