Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, has announced that it will set up a data centre in India. With this, the company will become one of the first social media companies to set up its data centre in India.
“As a testimony to ByteDance’s recognition of India’s efforts to frame a new data protection legislation, we are pleased to announce that we are taking a significant step towards establishing a data centre in India. We are now in the process of examining options for safe, secure and reliable services for our Indian users within India’s borders,” the company said in a statement.
Bytedance revealed that since its launch in India, it has been storing the data of Indian users at third-party data centres in the US and Singapore. “Since the launch of our platforms in India, we have stored the data of our Indian users at industry-leading third-party data centres in the U.S. and Singapore,” the company added.
The company revealed that it will hold active dialogue with relevant stakeholders to start the process of setting up data centres in the country. The move is in line with the Indian government focus on localisation of data gathered by various companies.
Why Data centres are important for Bytedance in India?
For Bytedance, the data centres are important if it wants to sustain in India. The data centres will give some assurance to the government and other bodies that the data is not sent to any third-party server or foreign government. The move will also boost some credibility on the Chinese player, whose past record has not that being trustworthy.
What are the controversies TikTok is facing?
Bytedance came into lots of controversies off lately. The app was under the constant scanner for its alleged role in security concerns and anti-nation activities. In the fresh incident, the Indian government announced that the application will face scrutiny-based on a questionnaire, failing to give appropriate answers will lead to banning the application.
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) have issued a notice to both TikTok and Helo, which is a part of Bytedance. The government body has directed them to produce answers to the 21 questions sent to them. The whole incident came into limelight when Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) sent a letter to the Prime Minister, alleging that TikTok and Helo platforms were being used for ‘anti-national activities’.
Previously, TikTok was in the limelight when Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday alleged that the app is illegally collecting data and sending it to China. Tharoor, speaking during the Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, said that it is a matter of national security. He said that he would like to draw the attention of the House to India’s vulnerability to data leakage and surveillance. He said that there is an absence of a robust comprehensive data protection framework in the country.
The application was earlier banned in India when a petition was filed in the Madras High Court citing to block the application from the country. The court then banned the application citing that it encourages pornography and illicit content. However, the ban was lifted by the High Court.
What steps Bytedance has taken to curb these allegations?
For starters, the company introduced a new device management feature, which allows users to have complete control over their account. The new device management feature is an addition to TikTok’s suite of 13 safety features. The company claims that features like age gate, restricted mode, screen time management, comments filter and safety centre are helping users to safely use the platform. The company also revealed that it has released a series of educational videos in both Hindi and English languages, which will help users to understand and learn the workings of the industry with 14 safety features.