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TikTok plans to hire 2,500 employees to ease data security concerns

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The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone on Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston.

The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone on Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. On Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp banned the use of TikTok and two popular messaging applications from all computer devices controlled by Georgia’s state government, saying the Chinese government may be able to access users’ personal information.

Michael Dwyer, Associated Press

Amid an ongoing debate about TikTok’s ability to protect users’ data, the popular social media app has unveiled a slew of security measures in an attempt to put skepticism to rest.

Among these measures is a plan to hire 2,500 employees to a team called U.S. Data Security, according to The Wall Street Journal.

TikTok says the aim of the U.S. Data Security team is to ensure access to user data is limited to those employees who need it to do their job.

The division would serve “to bring heightened focus to and governance to our ongoing efforts to strengthen our data protection policies and protocols, further protect our users, and build confidence in our systems and controls in the United States,” the company said in its newsroom.

The U.S. Data Security team would not hire Chinese citizens and would require employees to follow rules set by the U.S. government, The Wall Street Journal also reports. Employees would also answer to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The security unit is part of a $1.5 billion reorganization plan, Reuters reports. The reorganization is meant to increase transparency and prove to lawmakers that TikTok can operate in the U.S. independently from ByteDance in China.

TikTok has also said third-party companies, like Oracle Corp., will keep an eye on the app’s algorithms, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In the meantime, more than half of U.S. states, including Utah, have banned TikTok on government devices to protect data from the Chinese government and other entities, according to CNN.

Whether or not TikTok’s measures will ease Americans’ data security concerns remains to be seen.