TikTok unveils European data protection plan as US considers banning popular app

Popular video social media app TikTok is projected to have more than 250 million users in Europe by the end of 2023. Photo credit: TikTok (via Facebook)

TIKTOK, the popular social media app, announced a new data security plan known as Project Clover, on Wednesday, March 8 which aims to protect user information across Europe.

The decision comes as political pressure mounts in the US to ban the app due to its links to China through its parent company, ByteDance, which is based in Beijing. On Tuesday, March 7, the White House gave its support to a bill that could allow the government to ban TikTok.

Under Project Clover, user data will be stored on servers in Ireland and Norway with any data transfers outside Europe vetted by a third-party IT company. The use of the outsourced data servers are estimated to cost TikTok €1.2 billion each year.

Project Clover will also anonymise personal data so that individual users cannot be identified without additional information by global TikTok employees who can access app data.

The video sharing app has more than one billion users worldwide, almost 250 million of which are in Europe. Data is currently stored in the US and Singapore, and app bosses have repeatedly said that the Chinese government cannot access its data.

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