TikTok is coming to car consoles in new Mercedes-Benz deal

24 Feb 2023

The interior of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz E-class model. Image: Mercedes-Benz

The new deal comes amid concerns by US and EU lawmakers that TikTok may be providing private user data from around the world to the Chinese government for surveillance purposes.

TikTok is making a move into vehicles through a new deal with Mercedes-Benz that will have the app available in an upcoming car model.

The luxury car company revealed details of its new E-class sedan, which will allow drivers to download third-party apps on the centre screen inside the vehicle.

The interior features a selfie and video camera that lets users take photos, videos and participate in video conferences, though only when the vehicle is stationary.

Mercedes said users will also be able to stream content and access on-demand services such as news and sport within the vehicle. When launched, TikTok, the Angry Birds game, collaboration app Webex, Zoom and web browser Vivaldi will be available to download in the vehicle.

“With our mobile app, we bring people little moments of joy throughout their day,” said TikTok director of distribution business development, David Saidden.

“As we aim to expand that experience for our users, we’re excited to partner with Mercedes-Benz to introduce immersive in-car entertainment, which will give our community more opportunities to enjoy the content they love.”

Mercedes said its new E-class sedan is set to be released in late 2024. The luxury car maker has been taking new measures to upgrade its vehicles, such as its plans around self-driving technology.

As part of an ongoing partnership with autonomous tech company Luminar, Mercedes recently announced plans to add laser sensors into a broad range of its vehicle lines, to enable autonomous driving on highways and driver assistance in urban settings.

TikTok under scrutiny

The latest deal with TikTok comes as the Chinese-owned app faces scrutiny from lawmakers in the US and EU.

Yesterday (23 February), the European Commission asked all employees to delete TikTok from devices provided by the organisation amid security concerns.

The move underlines growing fears that TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, may be providing private user data from around the world to the Chinese government for surveillance purposes.

Last November, the US state of South Dakota banned the use of TikTok for government staff due to the “growing national security threat” posed by TikTok.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic