TikTok has confirmed that its first European data centre in Ireland is now operational and the social media giant has begun to migrate European user data to the site, as part of its ongoing response to data privacy concerns around the app’s links to China.
The centre in Dublin is the first of three in Europe to be built and will house data from TikTok users from across the European Economic Area (EEA), the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
The social media giant’s construction of the centres comes as it faces ongoing scrutiny from regulators around the world over its links to China.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, has long said it does not share data with China, but critics fear it could be compelled to expose data to Beijing, with growing concerns about how President Xi Jinping’s administration could use technology against the West.
Earlier this year, the UK government banned ministers from using the video-sharing app on their work phones following a security review, and a number of other governments around the world have also introduced similar bans.
As part of an initiative called Project Clover, TikTok had set out plans to build three new data centres in Europe – two in Ireland and one in Norway – to enable more local data storage, reduce data transfers across regions and reduce employee access to user data as part of its response to privacy fears.
In an update on the project and alongside the announcement of the first data centre coming online, TikTok vice-president for public policy in Europe, Theo Bertram, said a third-party security company would also be used to independently audit TikTok’s work at the data centre.
“We’ve committed to storing our European user data locally by default, by establishing three new data centres in Europe,” Bertram said in a blog post.