oracle now monitoring tiktok’s algorithms and moderation system for manipulation by china’s government

Oracle has begun auditing TikTok’s algorithms and content moderation models, according to a new report from Axios out this morning. Those reviews began last week, and follow TikTok’s June announcement it had moved its U.S. traffic to Oracle servers amid claims its U.S. user data had been accessed by TikTok colleagues in China.

The new arrangement is meant to allow Oracle the ability to monitor TikTok’s systems to help the company in its efforts to assure U.S. lawmakers that its app is not being manipulated by Chinese government authorities. Oracle will audit how TikTok’s algorithm surfaces content to “ensure outcomes are in line with expectations,” and that those models have not been manipulated, the report said. In addition, TikTok will regularly audit TikTok’s content moderation practices, including both its automated systems and its moderation decisions where people are choosing how to enforce TikTok policy.

TikTok’s moderation policies have been controversial in years past. In 2019, The Washington Post reported TikTok’s U.S. employees had often been ordered to restrict some videos on its platform at the behest of Beijing-based teams, and that teams in China would sometimes block or penalize certain videos out of caution about Chinese government restrictions. That same year, The Guardian also reported TikTok had been telling its moderators to censor videos that mentioned things like Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, or the banned religious group Falun Gong, per a set of leaked documents. In 2020, The Intercept reported TikTok moderators were told to censor political speech in livestreams and to suppress posts from “undesirable users” — the unattractive, poor or disabled, its documents said.

All the while, TikTok disputed the various claims — calling leaked documents outdated, for instance, in the latter two scenarios. It also continued to insist that its U.S. arm didn’t take instructions from its Chinese parent, ByteDance.

But a damning June 2022 report by BuzzFeed News proved that TikTok’s connection to China was closer than it had said. The news outlet found that U.S. data had been repeatedly accessed by staff in China, citing recordings from 80 TikTok internal meetings.

Following BuzzFeed’s reporting, TikTok announced that it was moving all U.S. traffic to Oracle’s infrastructure cloud service — a move designed to keep TikTok’s U.S. user data from prying eyes.

That agreement, a part of a larger operation called “Project Texas,” had been in progress for over a year and was focused on further separating TikTok’s U.S. operations from China, and employing an outside firm to oversee its algorithms.

Now, it seems Oracle is in charge of keeping an eye on TikTok to help prevent data emanating from the U.S. from being directed to China. The deal steps up Oracle’s involvement with TikTok as not only the host for the user data, but an auditor who could later back up or dispute TikTok’s claims that its system is operating fairly and without China’s influence. 

Oracle and TikTok have an interesting history. Towards the end of the Trump administration, the former president tried to force a sale between the two companies, bringing in long-time supporter, Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison to help broker the deal for his company. That deal eventually fell apart in February 2021, but the story didn’t end there, as it turned out.

But while this new TikTok-Oracle agreement has significance in terms of the tech industry and in politics, Oracle’s deal with TikTok doesn’t necessarily make the firm a more powerful player in the cloud infrastructure market.

Even with TikTok’s business, Oracle’s cloud infrastructure service represents just a fraction of the cloud infrastructure market. In the most recent quarter, Synergy Research, a firm that tracks this data, reported the cloud infrastructure market reached almost $55 billion with Amazon leading the way with 34%, Microsoft in second with 21%, and Google in third place with 10%. Oracle remains under 2%, says John Dinsdale, who is a principal analyst at the firm.

“Oracle’s share of the worldwide cloud infrastructure services market remains at just below 2% and has shown no signs of meaningful increase. So Oracle’s cloud revenue growth is pretty much keeping pace with overall market growth,” Dinsdale told TechCrunch. Synergy defines “cloud infrastructure services” as Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and hosted private cloud services. Dinsdale points out that Oracle’s SaaS business is much stronger.”

TECH NEWS RELATED

IriusRisk lands $29M to automate threat modeling for apps

IriusRisk, a threat modeling platform, today announced that it raised $29 million in a Series B funding round led by Paladin Capital Group with participation from BrightPixel Capital, SwanLab Venture Factory, 360 Capital and Inveready. In a conversation with TechCrunch, CEO Stephen de Vries said that the proceeds will be ...

View more: IriusRisk lands $29M to automate threat modeling for apps

SpaceX Crew-5: NASA to send first Native American woman to space

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 crew members arrive at Kennedy Space Center, October 1, 2022. /NASA NASA will send the first-ever Native American woman astronaut to orbit aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule atop the Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday. NASA astronaut Nicole Mann will serve as the commander with her fellow ...

View more: SpaceX Crew-5: NASA to send first Native American woman to space

How is Web3 different from our current internet experience?

Every Wednesday and Friday, TechNode’s Briefing newsletter delivers a roundup of the most important news in China tech, straight to your inbox. The technology of data, networks, and 3D visuals have developed so much in the past decade that many people and companies are now in the early stages ...

View more: How is Web3 different from our current internet experience?

Party Round’s rebrand is banking on founder bank accounts

Party Round wants you to know that the party isn’t over. In fact, it just rebranded, put the music just a little bit lower, and finally put out some appetizers. After a certain point, don’t we all get peckish? Party Round announced today that it has rebranded to Capital ...

View more: Party Round’s rebrand is banking on founder bank accounts

White House proposes voluntary safety and transparency rules around AI

The White House this morning unveiled what it’s colloquially calling an “AI Bill of Rights,” which aims to establish tenets around the ways AI algorithms should be deployed as well as guardrails on their applications. In five bullet points crafted with feedback from the public, companies like Microsoft and ...

View more: White House proposes voluntary safety and transparency rules around AI

Russia debates staying on ISS past 2024 despite tensions

Russia is having internal discussions over continuing its participation in the International Space Station (ISS) beyond 2024, despite statements made earlier this summer that the country will pull out of the station program by the middle of the decade. Sergei Krikalev, head of human space programs at Roscosmos, said ...

View more: Russia debates staying on ISS past 2024 despite tensions

China officially bans fruit flavorings in e-cigarettes

China has joined a handful of countries in banning flavored vapes to combat underage use of nicotine. Starting October 1, e-cigarette companies are only allowed to sell tobacco-flavored vapes in the country, an effort by the government to “standardize” the production, sales, and consumption of the novel tobacco product. ...

View more: China officially bans fruit flavorings in e-cigarettes

Daily Crunch: Blocking VLC player downloads violates Indian law, claims VideoLAN in legal challenge

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here. Good to have you with us again, as the TechCrunch train continues to rumble along the tracks. It’s gonna be a fun and busy week, so let’s ...

View more: Daily Crunch: Blocking VLC player downloads violates Indian law, claims VideoLAN in legal challenge

Just before Musk backtracked, a judge said Twitter could hunt for secret chats with whistleblower

Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor on blockchain, inclusion, unions and the future of crowdfunding

Tesla is now building Model 3 and Model Y vehicles without ultrasonic sensors

Yeah, no, most VCs still don’t really care about your path to profitability

Google Japan’s outlandish keyboards might be the best running joke in tech

This startup out of Carnegie Mellon wrangled my tabs once and for all

Duolingo makes its first official acquisition, with more to come

It’s official, Elon Musk is buying Twitter

Substack officially launches its ‘Reader’ Android app

Meta shuts down Bulletin newsletters, moves resources to its discovery algorithm

‘Grocery sharing’ app Recelery lets users resell food items to help minimize waste

Crypto losses total $428M in Q3, down 36% from previous quarter

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News