TikTok has agreed to allow US-based technology company Oracle to access its source code, algorithm, and content moderation material in an effort to address data protection and national security concerns.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said that Oracle has already begun a review of its source code as the TikTok-Oracle deal, known as “Project Texas,” progresses.

“Oracle has begun the review of the code, although it’s, as you can understand, a complicated project that will take time for us to finish the details. So, it’s on track,” Chew reportedly said at the Qatar Economic Forum.

“Oracle and ourselves are working together with the US government to finalize the details of Project Texas.”

The TikTok CEO claimed that Project Texas can address concerns by US lawmakers who fear China has backdoor access to the user data of the popular social media platform.

TikTok has reportedly spent $1.5 billion to implement the partnership over the last two years.

US Government Tried to Force Chinese Owner of TikTok to Sell

The move comes as the US government attempts to force TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, to sell the US stake in the social video platform to an American company.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), an interagency authorized to review certain transactions involving foreign investment, made the sale demand back in March.

The efforts to force the video app business to sell its US interests began under former President Donald Trump’s administration, which was struck down by a judge.

At the time, a judge ruled that the government’s Dept of Commerce (DoC) had “likely overstepped” its authority and “acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner by failing to consider obvious alternatives.”

Founded in Beijing in 2012 by Zhang Yiming, TikTok is owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance.

According to the company’s executives, 60% of ByteDance shares are owned by global investors, 20% by employees, and another 20% by founders. However, the founders’ shares carry outsize voting rights, as is common with tech companies.

TikTok Scrutiny Continues as Montana Bans the App

TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny from numerous US states over the past months due to its ties with mainland China.

In April, Montana became the first US state to pass a bill to ban TikTok from all mobile app stores available to its residents.

Just last week, the bill was approved by Governor Greg Gianforte, who said that he has banned TikTok “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”

However, the video-sharing app has hit back, suing the state of Montana over the ban. “Montana has no authority to enact laws… (that) ban an entire forum for communication-based on its perceptions,” the suit alleges.

The blanket ban in Montana came as at least 27 US States have banned the use of the social media app on government devices.

Furthermore, Senate lawmakers have recently introduced a legislative proposal that could expand the president’s authority in dealing with perceived threats from foreign-owned apps, according to an official press release.

In short, the legislation would empower the Biden administration to ban TikTok under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). This has left millions of American users of the video-sharing app wondering whether a ban could be imminent.

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