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Craig Hale

TikTok set to spend billions on new European data centers and security upgrades

TikTok icon displayed on a phone screen with in the background European Union flag with cyber code, seen in this photo illustration.

TikTok has committed to a €12 billion ($13 billion) investment to build enough data centers across Europe to look after customer data for citizens of the EEA and UK as part of its Project Clover program, which will last ten years.

The project will fund three data center locations – one in Norway, and two in Ireland, as well as work on security and privacy.

The move is one that TikTok hopes will appease customers after it was revealed that the company’s Chinese workers could access user data in other regions, raising privacy and security concerns, not helped by the ongoing geopolitical tension between China and other countries, including the US.

TikTok is opening data centers in Europe

Already, one of the platform’s European data centers in Ireland is operational as of this year.

This week, TikTok took ownership of its Norway data center location in the Hamar region, and specifically, the first of three buildings on the site. All three are set to house customer data.

The social media platform says that 150 million Europeans use TikTok every month, and that it has 5,000 workers across the region, claiming that Europe is “of critical importance” to the company.

Furthermore, its Norway data center is on track to be carbon neutral by 2030. All companies are under intense pressure to reduce emissions and boost environmental sustainability, however data centers have been subject to even more scrutiny in recent months over their immense use of natural resources and energy.

Upon completion, TikTok says its Norway site will be the “largest colocation facility in Europe to run on 100% renewable energy,” even hinting at the use of the heat it will generate. Other companies have already started exploring avenues to heat swimming pools and houses with their waste heat.

The next stage for TikTok is to take possession of the remaining two buildings at its Norway site and start to migrate data to those, which it expects to begin by the end of 2024.

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