Social media platform TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, will invest €12bn ($13bn) in Europe over the next decade through its Project Clover programme.

The investment comes as TikTok begins the first phase of its data centre operations in Norway. The campus in the Hamar region consists of three separate buildings that will store European TikTok user data.

The Norway data centre will receive a portion of the investment, which will also fund two other data centres in Ireland. One of the data centres is already operational and began storing user data earlier this year.

TikTok said: “The Norway data centre not only supports the new standards we are setting in data security but also aligns with our goal to become operationally carbon neutral by 2030.”

In addition, TikTok will invest in the NCC Group, a third-party stakeholder providing oversight of the company’s processes in Europe. The investment will go into auditing and verifying TikTok’s data controls and protection processes, monitoring data flows and reporting incidents.

Launched in 2016, TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms. It uses personal information such as user location, phone contacts and other social network connections to provide people with tailored short-form video content

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Due to the nature of the platform, Western officials have expressed data privacy and security concerns about TikTok. The US has banned the use of TikTok by federal and public sector employees on their phones and state employees’ phones in 32 of 50 states.

The state of Montana, meanwhile, sought to ban the use of TikTok altogether, but the move was blocked by a judge yesterday (30 November).

Despite this opposition, the social media platform continues to pose a significant challenge to its competitors, including Meta, which enacted massive layoffs since 2022.