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Oracle Begins Audit of TikTok’s Algorithms for Beijing’s Influence

TikTok is pulling out all the stops to prove it is independent of Beijing's influence, turning to Oracle to audit its algorithms....
Oracle Begins Audit of TikTok’s Algorithms for Beijing’s Influence
Written by Matt Milano

TikTok is pulling out all the stops to prove it is independent of Beijing’s influence, turning to Oracle to audit its algorithms.

TikTok has been under scrutiny for years over its data and privacy practices, with the Trump administration trying to ban the app. Experts are concerned about the wealth of data the app has access to, and how much of that data is available to Chinese authorities.

The company’s executives even swore before Congress that Americans’ data was handled by an American team, only for it to be revealed that the data actually was handled by their colleagues in China.

Read more: Is TikTok Replacing Google?

Following new cries to ban the app, TikTok is going to great lengths to prove it can be trusted. According to Axios, that includes having Oracle audit the platform’s algorithms to prove how its data is being handled. The company has begun routing its US user data through Oracle’s servers as part of Project Texas, a reference to Oracle’s Texas-based headquarters.

A spokesperson told Axios that the review process began last week and that Oracle will engage in “regular vetting and validation” of TikTok’s moderation and recommendation models. The reviews will also reveal how the platform’s algorithms recommend content “to ensure that outcomes are in line with expectations and that the models have not been manipulated in any way.”

It’s an unusual step for a company or platform to open up its most secret code to another company for review. It likely helps that Oracle was in talks to buy TikTok when it was under threat of ban.

Only time will tell if these measures are enough to reassure US lawmakers and if the company can finally deliver on the privacy promises it has made.

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