A new report from Reuters claims that TikTok and Oracle are close to reaching an agreement that will see the latter company store information on US users of the former. The news comes as security concerns continue to rise regarding the rapidly-growing social media platform and its ties to the Chinese communist government.
In the report, Reuters says Oracle will be responsible for storing all information on TikTok users located in the United States. China’s government will not be given access to the information, nor will it have any oversight of its handling. A dedicated data management team consisting of hundreds of engineers and cyber security personnel will work to maintain the data on Oracle’s servers. It is unclear where Oracle will locate its servers; as of now, the only location in the US where TikTok user data is stored is Virginia.
The new agreement will be aimed at easing concerns of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) who fear ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) might be handing user information over to the Chinese government. Earlier this month, a report from TheWrap shed light on shady practices TikTok follows to circumvent the security protocols of the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. That’s in addition to past whistleblowers who claimed the platform was actively censoring content and promoting propaganda, tying back to a Chinese government-created investment fund called WangTouZhongWen Technology which wound up with a one percent stake in ByteDance after the company was re-evaluated. All things considered, TikTok’s backend operations are shady, to say the least.
Oracle’s new deal with TikTok still runs the risk of failing to meet the requirements of CFIUS to establish trustworthiness. If so, Reuters notes that the US Commerce Department is still considering new rules that would address potential security risks from TikTok and other foreign-owned applications. These rules, if enacted, could be strict enough that some apps would be banned from the United States.
It remains unclear what the future holds for TikTok, but it’s unlikely it will eventually be banned. After former President Trump tried to outlaw the app in 2020 with an executive order, President Biden’s administration decidedly threw it out upon entering the White House. So while there doesn’t seem to be any interest in getting rid of the app altogether, there are growing concerns over its safety and security. Whether Oracle can ease them remains to be seen.