More and more people in Europe are scrolling through the short videos on the platform Tiktok. On Friday, the platform, which belongs to the Chinese Internet group Bytedance, reported that more than 150 million users in Europe now watch videos on it every month or produce them themselves. So far, the platform published only sporadic user numbers. In autumn 2021, it last reported on global user numbers. At that time, Tiktok cracked the mark of one billion users around the world. Since the summer of 2020, around 300 million had been added.

Gregor Brunner

Editor in business.

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How many global users Tiktok has at the moment and what proportion of its 150 million European users are is not known. It was estimated that there would be 1.8 billion users at the end of 2022. Tiktok is touted as one of the fastest growing platforms among social media. A tangible indicator of this is likely to be that there has been a strong increase in staff in the European branches in recent years. In 2019, the branch in the United Kingdom, which was responsible for the business for the same, the European Economic Area and Switzerland, had 208 employees. More than 5000,<> people now work for Tiktok in ten European countries, including Germany.

In the same statement, Tiktok also explained its next steps in dealing with European user data. On the one hand, in addition to a planned data centre in Dublin, the platform intends to set up two other such centres to complement the capacities in Ireland. A second is planned in Ireland, and talks are underway for a third. This is intended to restrict the flow of data from European users to non-European countries. Until now, Tiktok still had data centers in the United States and Singapore.

Data protection concerns from all sides

Bytedance repeatedly asserts that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has no access to the data of TikTok users. The data of the Chinese version of Tiktok, Douyin, is separated from the international version. However, the authorities may not really believe the company. Several members of the EU Commission had directly warned the head of the company, Shou Zi Chew, to adhere to European data protection and youth protection rules, including Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

In the United States, too, Tiktok is increasingly viewed critically. At the end of last year, it was banned from installing Tiktok on devices issued by the federal government. Former President Donald Trump even tried to ban the app throughout the country in 2020 – in vain.