TikTok has pledged to spend $499m building its first European data centre as it seeks to simplify its compliance procedures and ward off security concerns.
The data centre, which will be located in Ireland, may go some way to allay concerns about the Chinese government using the app for surveillance purposes.
But processing its European users’ data within the EU will also make it easier for the company to comply with the terms of GDPR.
Its existing data centres are currently based in the US and Singapore and the European Court of Justice recently invalidated an agreement that allowed European citizens data to be automatically transferred to the US.
The wildly popular social media app, which is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, is currently considering where to locate its international headquarters, with reports suggesting it is eyeing both Dublin and London, which currently serves as its European headquarters.
The Trump administration, citing concerns over potential Chinese interference in the service, has threatened to ban TikTok in the US, forcing it to sell its American operations. The company is in negotiations with Microsoft, which has offered to buy the firm’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but not the UK. Apple has denied reports that it had also expressed serious interest in buying the app.
In a blogpost TikTok’s global chief information security officer, Roland Cloutier, said the new Irish data centre would “create hundreds of new jobs and play a key role in further strengthening the safeguarding and protection of TikTok user data, with a state of the art physical and network security defence system planned around this new operation”.
The head of Ireland’s inward investment agency, Martin Shanahan, added: “TikTok’s decision to establish its first European data centre in Ireland, representing a substantial investment here by the company, is very welcome and, following on from the establishment of its EMEA Trust & Safety Hub in Dublin earlier in the year, positions Ireland as an important location in the company’s global operations.”