TikTok to open ‘transparency centre’ based in Ireland

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Tiktok To Open ‘Transparency Centre’ Based In Ireland
TikTok already has a significant Irish presence. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty
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By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

TikTok is to create a Transparency and Accountability Centre in Europe to provide an opportunity for experts and policymakers to see how the company builds and secures its platform.

It comes as the social media platform continues to face questions over its security.

TikTok said the new Transparency and Accountability Centre – to be based in Ireland – would enable visiting experts to get an insight into how technology is used to keep the app’s users safe and how content moderation takes place involving both human reviewers and machine learning.

The opening of a European branch follows the launch of a similar centre in the United States last year, which has so far given virtual tours to more than 70 policymakers and academics, TikTok said.

The firm said the scheme had allowed experts to learn more about the company’s approach and ask questions about its safety and security practices.

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Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety, said: “With more than 100 million users across Europe, we recognise our responsibility to gain the trust of our community and the broader public.

“Our Transparency and Accountability Centre is the next step in our journey to help people better understand the teams, processes, and technology we have to help keep TikTok a place for joy, creativity, and fun.

“We know there’s lots more to do and we’re excited about proactively addressing the challenges that lie ahead. I’m looking forward to welcoming experts from around Europe and hearing their candid feedback on ways we can further improve our systems.”

The company said while it would operate virtually initially, it hoped to open the physical centre in 2022.

Data privacy

Questions have been raised about data privacy on the platform. Last month, the State’s data privacy watchdog said it was engaging with TikTok to see whether the user data of EU citizens is being sent to China.

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The Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon told an online event in March that engineers in China may be able to see the data of EU residents who use the popular app.

TikTok already has a significant Irish presence. In 2020, it grew its Trust and Safety Hub in Dublin. The hub made the Irish operation TikTok’s third regional centre, enabling it to operate a localised approach to content policy.

In November 2020, the Chinese-owned company announced new plans to expand, adding 200 new jobs over three months. The company employs about 1,100 people in Ireland.

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