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Oracle to act as US data auditor for TikTok

All US traffic on the social media platform will be routed through Oracle's cloud infrastructure

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Oracle has entered into an agreement with TikTok to receive the entirety of the social media firm's US user data, as well as perform data management and auditing services for the company.

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Under the arrangement, first reported on by Axios, all US TikTok data will be sent through Oracle’s cloud infrastructure, with an eventual goal for TikTok to delete US user data from all its servers and fully migrate this to Oracle cloud servers.

Oracle will also be given access to TikTok’s content algorithms, as well as conduct audits on both manual and automated content moderation systems. With over 80 million users in the US, the deal represents a serious undertaking for Oracle.

Oracle regularly audits data, but governance on this scale is unusual. TikTok’s stated goal to hand all US data to Oracle’s servers and continually work with the cloud giant to improve its data signals a willingness by the company to more firmly situate itself in the US tech sector, and move away from its central hosting in Singapore.

The deal comes almost two years after TikTok was forced to enter discussions with Oracle after former President Trump mandated the company to consider divestment options or face a total ban in the US over national security concerns.

TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have been the subject of controversy in recent months. In June, the FCC commissioner publicly urged Apple and Google to delist the app from app stores, citing concerns over TikTok’s access to sensitive data, while in July Buzzfeed News alleged that China-based ByteDance employees have accessed US tiktok user data.

TikTok reasserted its dedication to transparency in July, with the announcement of a new API for researchers.

There had initially been discussions over Oracle buying US operations of TikTok outright, alongside a proposal by Microsoft for a similar acquisition. In June, TikTok made a blog post addressing its governance strategy with regards to user data and the agreement with Oracle.

“For more than a year, we've been working with Oracle on several measures as part of our commercial relationship to better safeguard our app, systems, and the security of US user data,” the company stated.

“In addition, we're working closely with Oracle to develop data management protocols that Oracle will audit and manage to give users even more peace of mind.”

IT Pro has approached Oracle for comment.

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