TikTok content algorithms are now audited | information age

Oracle audits TikTok’s algorithms. Photo: Shutterstock

TikTok’s content moderation algorithms and models are now audited by IT giant Oracle.

Oracle will be responsible for “regular verification and validation” of TikTok’s content recommendation and moderation models, a spokesperson told the news site. Axios.

The monitoring process aims to protect against manipulation of the platform’s huge collection of content by Chinese authorities.

It gives Oracle oversight of TikTok’s algorithms “to ensure that the results conform to expectations and that the patterns have not been manipulated in any way,” the report said.

TikTok’s algorithms drive its video recommendations on its platform of 50 million daily active users in the United States.

Although TikTok confirmed the reports, Oracle did not directly comment on the verification processes, but the new arrangement should help the video-sharing platform calm down. concerns of the US government on the protection of US data from Chinese authorities and the protection against interference in the availability of video content.

The daunting task of migrating to US data centers

The algorithm oversight comes after TikTok announced in June that it would move all of its US traffic to Oracle servers after allegations emerged that user data had been accessed from China.

A BuzzFeed report in the United States earlier this year discovered that data belonging to American users had been repeatedly accessed from China, potentially providing a “back door” to sensitive personal information.

In an audio leak of more than 80 internal TikTok meetings, China-based employees of its parent company ByteDance discussed repeated access to non-public data about US TikTok users from 2021 to 2022.

Following this, TikTok explained that China-based employees have access to US TikTok user data, subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by its based security team. in the USA.

In a year-long process, TikTok changed the default storage location for US user data so that 100% of its US user traffic was routed to Oracle’s cloud infrastructure.

“We are still using our US and Singaporean data centers for backup, but as we continue our work, we plan to remove US users’ private data from our own data centers and switch entirely to the servers. Oracle clouds located in the United States,” TikTok said in its US data governance announcement.

“Additionally, we are working closely with Oracle to develop data management protocols that Oracle will audit and manage to give users even more peace of mind.”

Long-standing concerns about TikTok

As TikTok’s operations have grown and its user base has exploded globally, there have been numerous reports of censorship of certain videos and questions about the security of user data on the platform.

The video-sharing app has now made significant operational and policy changes, including a new department with US-based management to only manage its US user data and enforce user security protections. employees in an effort to further minimize the transfer of data outside of the United States.

“We know that we are among the most scrutinized platforms from a security perspective, and we aim to remove any doubts about the security of US user data,” the company said.

In 2020, then-US President Donald Trump wanted to take down TikTok due to national security concerns over its Chinese-backed owners.

Following this, the deal with Oracle was brokered to house all US user data onsite after Microsoft, Twitter and Oracle expressed interest in purchasing the video sharing business.

Sharon D. Cole