TikTok to open European transparency centre in Ireland

27 Apr 2021

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The company said it plans to offer virtual tours from June 2021, with the centre expected to be fully operational by 2022.

TikTok is expanding its Irish presence further with a new European Transparency and Accountability Centre.

The centre aims to highlight how the social media company uses its technology to help with content reviews, moderation and to help catch potential policy violations.

Video-sharing platform TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, opened its first Trust and Accountability Centre in the US last year.

Its new centre in Ireland is the first European transparency centre and, once open and operational, will give experts an opportunity to visit and see how TikTok teams go about their work.

“The landscape we operate in is rapidly evolving and it’s our hope that visitors will be able to learn more about our work, but importantly, also provide candid feedback about what they see and hear,” said Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming experts and we will continue our work to find innovative ways to improve our content moderation, safety and data security systems.”

The centre will initially operate virtually due to Covid restrictions, but the company said it plans to offer virtual tours from June 2021 and expects the centre to be fully operational by 2022.

The move follows a number of expansions in TikTok’s Irish operations in the last year. In June 2020, the company announced that its Dublin office would become responsible for privacy oversight of all European users.

In August, it revealed that Ireland would be the location for its first data centre in Europe, which is expected to be operational by early 2022. At the end of the year the company said it planned to hire 200 people at its Dublin base, bringing its headcount in Ireland to more than 1,000.

TikTok now has more than 100m active users across Europe every month. But as the Chinese-owned company has expanded, it has also come under scrutiny for privacy and safety practices.

Last week, a former children’s commissioner in England launched a billion-pound legal challenge against the company over how it collects data on users under the age of 18. The company has also been hit with complaints by European consumer rights group BEUC over alleged violations of EU consumer laws and how it protects child user data.

As well as the new transparency centre, TikTok established a safety advisory council in Europe last month to assist with policies around content moderation.

In terms of data privacy practices, Ireland’s data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, recently raised concerns that some of TikTok’s EU data may be accessible to teams in China.

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com