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TikTok CEO says Oracle has begun review of its source code

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byteDance Ltd. TikTok is “on track” with its venture to have all US user data hosted and overseen by Oracle Corp., as the Chinese tech giant looks to win over critics concerned about the national security implications of its hit video app. struggling for.

TikTok Chief Executive Officer Show Zi Chew said the US software company has begun a review of TikTok’s source code and it is now the default destination for US user data. His team is also developing a European version of this local-hosting initiative, designed to address fears of sensitive information reaching the Chinese government, with data centers in Ireland and Norway.

“The Chinese government has never actually asked us for US user data, and we will not provide it even if asked,” the executive, who goes by Shou Chew in the US, told Bloomberg at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha on Tuesday. told television. “We will continue to invest in making sure our data is as secure as possible.”

Read more: What to know about TikTok security concerns

TikTok has come under fire as US lawmakers have raised concerns over how the Chinese-owned platform handles user data. ByteDance, the world’s most valuable startup, now faces an intense national security review and legislation that could ban its signature service in its biggest international market. To address those concerns, TikTok is developing its US and EU projects to allow user information to be stored locally by the local company and overseen by local staff.

In March, Chew sat through a grueling five-hour hearing on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers repeatedly questioned him about Chinese ownership of TikTok and Beijing’s ability to access millions of Americans’ data. TikTok executives had discussed separating from ByteDance internally, but Chinese officials said they would oppose a forced sale.

On Tuesday, the TikTok chief reiterated that his team is working with Oracle and the US government and is making progress.

TikTok’s 150 million US users appear to be its biggest ally. Last week, Greg Gianforte, the Republican governor of Montana, signed a measure that would restrict downloads of the app starting next year. Local TikTok creators and viewers protested the first statewide ban of the app in the US, including suing their government on First Amendment grounds.

Read more: Critics say Montana’s TikTok ban is a violation of free speech. here’s what to know

“We believe that the Montana bill that was recently passed is unconstitutional,” Chew said. TikTok filed a lawsuit to challenge this in court, and is confident the company will prevail.

Despite political tensions, TikTok hasn’t eased its push on monetization. After Meta Platforms Inc and Alphabet Inc have already snatched a big chunk of advertising from Google, TikTok is now following a tried-and-true model to enter live-streaming commerce in places like Southeast Asia and the US. Its Chinese brother Douyin.

ByteDance’s revenue for 2022 rose more than 30% to more than $80 billion, matching rival Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s tally. Double-digit growth also topped most global Internet leaders, including Meta and Amazon.com Inc.

Back home, ByteDance joins the likes of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent in braving unprecedented cost curbs during a year of endless regulatory crackdown and Covid restrictions. The Beijing company, founded nearly a decade ago, cut some of its riskier projects, including gaming and venture investments. Douyin remains its cash cow as the video forum has evolved to become an all-in-one app with built-in shopping, online food delivery and grocery features.

A recent private-market investment by Abu Dhabi AI firm G42 valued the TikTok owner at about $220 billion, down from the $300 billion set by ByteDance during a September share buyback program.

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