Oracle is vetting TikTok’s algorithms for Chinese government manipulation

17 Aug 2022

Image: © tashatuvango/

The decision is part of a security push by TikTok amid concerns in the US that the company is influenced by Chinese authorities.

Oracle is auditing TikTok’s algorithms and content moderation models to ensure they aren’t being manipulated by Chinese authorities.

An unnamed source told Axios that these reviews began last week as all of TikTok’s US traffic is now being routed to Oracle’s infrastructure.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, announced in June that it is working with Oracle “to better safeguard” its app, systems and the security of US user data.

It came amid renewed pressure from US lawmakers about the company’s potential links with Chinese authorities. On the same day, BuzzFeed News reported that the data of US users had been accessed by employees in China.

TikTok’s June announcement said that 100pc of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle cloud infrastructure. The company added that it still used its US and Singapore data centres for backup, but expected to delete US users’ private data from its own data centres and fully pivot to US-based Oracle cloud servers.

“In addition, we’re working closely with Oracle to develop data management protocols that Oracle will audit and manage to give users even more peace of mind,” it added at the time.

“We know we are among the most scrutinised platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data.”

The BuzzFeed article prompted US senators to send a letter questioning TikTok’s data management policies.

In response, TikTok said it is working on a new programme called Project Texas to help build trust with users, US lawmakers and stakeholders.

Last month, as part of its transparency efforts, the company revealed that it is building an API for selected researchers to access public and anonymised data about the content and activity on TikTok.

In 2020, former US president Donald Trump issued an executive order stating that TikTok would be banned in the US for national security reasons unless sold by its Chinese parent company.

This led to TikTok’s partnership with Oracle, which was chosen by the video-sharing platform as a “trusted technology provider” in a bid to ease security concerns.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic