A day after Congress MP Shashi Tharoor alleged that TikTok was illegally collecting data and sending it to China, the Chinese video-sharing app has refuted the allegations, saying it has no relation with the Chinese government.
In a press statement on Tuesday, TikTok said: “These claims are simply untrue. The privacy and security of our users is a top priority for TikTok, and we abide by local laws and regulations in the markets where we operate”. According to TikTok, it “does not operate in the People’s Republic of China and their government has no access to TikTok users’ data, nor does it have any existing partnership with China Telecom”.
TikTok’s denial comes a day after Tharoor alleged that the Chinese video-sharing app was surreptitiously sharing data of its India users with the Chinese government. Speaking in the Lok Sabha during the Zero Hour on Monday, the Thiruvananthapuram MP claimed that the Chinese government received data from TikTok through the wholly state-owned China Telecom. “The federal regulators in the US recently slapped a fine of $5.7 million on TikTok for illegally collecting data on children”, he said.
TikTok also claimed that contrary to Tharoor’s allegations, it has never sent Indian user-data to China. According to the company, “Our Indian users’ data is stored in the US and Singapore at industry-leading third-party data centers”.
Owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, TikTok has notched up almost 200 million users in India in record time, adding 88.6 million new users during the first quarter of this year alone, in spite of recurring controversies surrounding the risqué nature of some of its user-uploaded content.