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Lifestyle

Are you afraid of sharing personal data? TikTok has a project ready to help, here's what it's all about

Are you afraid of sharing personal data? TikTok has a project ready to help,

In an effort to combat concerns over European privacy, TikTok has revealed plans to open a large data center in Norway. 

The social media company has taken possession of a facility in the Hamar region, which will become its largest data center in Europe.

The company, owned by China-based Bytedance, has tried to address concerns about whether the Chinese government could access the data of European citizens who use TikTok.

"We understand the skepticism," said Theo Bertram, TikTok's vice president of government relations and public policy.

"And that's exactly why we're not just doing the step of putting data in Europe, building that digital barrier around it."

According to TikTok, over 150 million people across Europe use TikTok every month. 

That scale "comes with responsibility," according to the tech giant. 

"We want people on TikTok to be confident they can trust us with their data," Mr Bertram explained. 

Several European countries, including Italy, Norway and the Netherlands, have raised concerns about the app's safety and security. 

In March, Italy's antitrust authority opened an investigation into the app after it allegedly broke its rules by allowing the publication of 'dangerous content' promoting suicide, self-harm and poor nutrition.

Meanwhile, the Dutch and British governments have banned central government employees from installing the app on their phones. 

Norway's justice minister, whose active use of TikTok has previously landed her in hot water, also recommended that her country's government employees refrain from using the Chinese app on their work devices. 

To combat these fears, TikTok announced Project Clover in March, which aims to build data centers and store European user data locally.

Now, it has announced an investment of €12 billion over the next 10 years as it officially takes over the data center in Norway.  

“The first of three separate buildings on site was delivered this week; each of these buildings will ultimately store the data of European TikTok users,' Mr Bertram explained.

TikTok will now begin installing and testing servers in the first building, with the goal of migrating user data by next summer. 

Meanwhile, the other two buildings are expected to be delivered during the second half of next year, with data transfer to them scheduled to begin in late 2024. 

When completed, this will be the largest data center in Europe, according to TikTok. 

The app hopes the new data center will not only help combat concerns about user privacy, but also help achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. 

Once fully operational, Norway's data center will run on 100 percent renewable energy.

"Most of the energy generated will be transformed into low-temperature (25C) heat, effectively enabling energy to be used twice," said Mr Bertram.