Business Insider highlights inaccuracies in TikTok’s career portal and some evidence that it routes the applicants’ sensitive data to China

TikTok has been claiming throughout the year 2020 that it does not send users’ data to the Chinese government, and the firm has time and again mentioned that its headquarters are in the Cayman Islands and not in Beijing. TikTok’s parent company ByteDance came under the line of fire and a lot of suspicion at the end of 2019 when US President Trump accused ByteDance to be intrusively collecting the data of TikTok’s American users and TikTok profusely refuted these claims. But now, there is another news that is quite shocking for the users, embarrassing for TikTok, and alarming for job applicants who apply for jobs at TikTok.

Recently, it has been discovered that when an applicant applies for a job on TikTok through its online portal, their data is transferred to a Chinese site, Now, this site is indirectly run by ByteDance and provides support for the backend servers that help in the recruitment of employees at ByteDance. There is some solid evidence that through this portal, the applicants’ sensitive data including their contact information, gender, marital status, even their geolocation goes and gets stored in some servers in China.

Now, the important point to note is that the job applicants from European countries, Japan, and Singapore can see on their privacy policy documents that their data is stored in China. However, applicants from the US and Malaysia do not see any mention of China in their privacy clauses.

When Business Insider made this revelation, it was noted that TikTok very quietly removed the URL that redirected the applicants towards

Another startling revelation was that in the privacy policy document for job applicants from the UK, TikTok mentions that its headquarters are located in China and the applicant’s data is also stored in China, as part of TikTok’s applicant tracking system. But this statement is contradictory to the Companies House, ByteDance’s organization chart, and even the UK’s register of companies, where it is mentioned that TikTok’s headquarters are not in China, but in the Cayman Islands! This can be an error, but it is still embarrassing for TikTok.

The worrying aspect of this whole issue is that China is an authoritarian country, and its Intelligence Act laws are very different and strict than other countries. The applicants from the EU whose data is getting stored in China must be cautious because no one knows how China uses this data eventually. It is not something very appealing that China is controlling someone’s personal data anyway.

TikTok has not denied all of this and has not provided any logical explanation for the error in the UK’s policy document. However, they just said that they are aware of various inaccuracies in those documents and they are trying to correct them now. Also, they have explained that there is no headquarter of TikTok in China, and all the users’ data is stored in servers in the US and Singapore. By 2022, for European users’ data, they are opening a new data center in Ireland too.

Read next: TikTok has taken some serious steps against the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and graphical content that some might find disturbing
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