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ByteDance’s TikTok Names Former U.S. Defense Staff as Security Head

By Ding Yi / Mar 06, 2020 03:21 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

ByteDance’s social media app TikTok has announced that it has hired cyber security executive and former U.S. defense staff Roland Cloutier as its newly created chief information security officer. The announcement comes as the company wrestles with U.S. concerns over its handling of private user data.

According to a statement released Friday, Cloutier will report to TikTok’s head Alex Zhu, who said that having him will enable the company to make good on its promise to “maximize security” on the TikTok platform.

Before taking on the new role at TikTok, Cloutier worked as chief security officer at payroll processing company ADP, where he oversaw the security of personal information. He also previously served in the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Cloutier’s appointment comes as TikTok tries to reassure some U.S. lawmakers who claim that the app collects data from the devices of its users, which it then shares with Chinese authorities, posing a national security threat.

On Wednesday, U.S. senator Josh Hawley has promised to introduce legislation to ban all federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices. The move follows several U.S. government agencies that have already barred their employees from using the app.

However, TikTok has long denied such allegations, arguing that American user data is stored in the U.S. and that the Chinese government has no jurisdiction over the content published on its platform.

Last year, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States launched a national security probe into ByteDance’s 2017 acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly, which was rebranded as TikTok in 2018, Reuters reported.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com) and editor Dave Yin (davidyin@caixin.com)

Related: U.S. Lawmaker Proposes Comprehensive Government Ban on TikTok


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