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A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. Photo: Reuters

TikTok to open transparency centre in Europe to address privacy and security concerns

  • The ByteDance short video app plans to launch a European Transparency and Accountability Centre in Ireland next year
  • EU consumers groups have filed complaints about TikTok for allegedly failing to protect children and breaking consumer laws

TikTok plans to allow European researchers and policymakers to see how its teams moderate content, how its recommendation technology works and how it handles data as it seeks to address concerns over the privacy and safety of its young users.

The social media app said on Tuesday it would open a European Transparency and Accountability Centre, at first virtually and later at a facility in Ireland expected to open next year.

A teenager poses presenting a smartphone with the logo of social network TikTok in Nantes, western France, on January 21, 2021. Photo: AFP

TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has more than 100 million users in Europe. The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted its popularity among youngsters shut up at home.

“We recognise our responsibility to gain the trust of our community and the broader public,” Cormac Keenan, the company’s Head of Trust and Safety, said in a statement.

TikTok was targeted in a London child privacy lawsuit last week. The company said the claims lack merit.

In February, EU consumer groups filed multiple complaints about the company to authorities in 15 EU countries for allegedly violating the bloc’s consumer laws and for failing to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content.

In the United States, some lawmakers have accused TikTok of sharing user data with the Chinese government. The company has rejected those claims, saying US user data is stored in the United States and China does not have jurisdiction over content not held in China.