According to a report Monday (May 22) by Bloomberg News, the Chinese-owned social media giant will give Oracle, a cloud computing firm, access to its algorithm, source code and content moderation materials.
In addition, Oracle is set to begin monitoring the gateways where data enters and exits the servers it has set up to host TikTok user data.
PYMNTS has reached out to TikTok for comment but has not yet received a reply.
As Bloomberg notes, this is all part of TikTok’s Project Texas, the company’s plan to guard user data and allow its technology to be audited by partners like Oracle to determine security risks.
In doing so, TikTok hopes to stave off concerns — and a ban — from lawmakers who argue its ownership by China’s ByteDance poses a threat of data collection by that country’s government.
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that TikTok had held off launching its U.S. shopping platform due to fears of a ban.
Reached for comment by PYMNTS, a spokesperson for ByteDance disputed the notion that the company has delayed the rollout, which it began testing in November in an invite-only pilot.
“So many people rely on TikTok for product discovery and recommendations, and we want to make sure we get the experience right before we fully launch,” the spokeperson said.
Nevertheless, April saw the news that TikTok was having trouble attracting American merchants onto the shopping platform, again due to concerns over a potential ban in the U.S.
But that isn’t to say that American merchants have shunned TikTok completely. A number of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have begun using it and other social media platforms to target potential customers.
“In fact, more than half of small businesses that have utilized TikTok report a significant improvement in their overall marketing performance, with 78% reporting a favorable return on investment (ROI) from their TikTok advertisements,” PYMNTS wrote in March.
PYMNTS has also noted that a ban on the site would hurt brands, retailers and influencers who have come to depend on the platform to drive sales. In addition, many companies have invested deeply in creating TikTok content to attract the younger consumers who use the platform.
“Content that does well on TikTok tends to lack flashy production value and has a way of making viewers feel as if the person they are watching is in the room with them, a valuable dynamic for brands and retailers,” PYMNTS wrote earlier this year.
At the same time, banning the platform would dramatically impact the influencer marketing space, as many brands collaborate with popular creators to promote their goods.