Amid rising regulatory pressure, TikTok amasses 150m+ users in Europe, plans two more data centers

TikTok has amassed more than 150 million users across Europe and is planning to add two more data centers even as social media apps face increasing regulatory scrutiny in the region.

The platform said in a Friday (February 17) release that its investments in Europe saw the creation of jobs for over 5,000 people, who now work for TikTok in 10 countries across the region including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

“Our employees span a diverse range of areas, from brand and creator engagement, e-commerce and music, to privacy, public policy, research and development, and safety,” noted TikTok.

The numbers come as the European Commission gave social media companies and search engines until February 17 to publish their monthly active users.

Google owner Alphabet provided a breakdown of monthly users for its apps. Google Maps had 278.6 million average monthly signed-in users, Google Play had 274.6 million, Google Search had 332 million, Shopping had 74.9 million and YouTube had 401.7 million, far ahead of TikTok’s 150 million.

Apple, meanwhile said only its App Store qualified as a “very large online platform” (VLOP) under EU standards as the app had more than 45 million monthly users.

Apple intends, on an entirely voluntary basis, to align each of the existing versions of the App Store (including those that do not currently meet the VLOP designation threshold) with the existing DSA requirements for VLOPs because the goals of the DSA align with Apple’s goals to protect consumers from illegal content,” the iPhone maker said.

Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said it had about 255 million average monthly active users on Facebook in the EU and roughly 250 million on Instagram in the six months ended December 31, 2022.

Twitter said on Thursday that it had 100.9 million average monthly users in the EU, according to its last 45-day estimate. 

Google, Meta and TikTok showed commitment to the new EU standards of reporting, but Twitter “provided little specific information and no targeted data,” the European Commission said in a note cited by the Associated Press.

Vera Jourova, the European Commission’s executive vice president for values and transparency, said: “I am disappointed to see that Twitter report lags behind others and I expect a more serious commitment to their obligations stemming from the Code.”

“Russia is engaged also in a full-blown disinformation war and the platforms need to live up to their responsibilities.”

To comply with the new EU standards, TikTok submitted its first baseline report in accordance with the strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation.

The report provided more than 2,500 data points on the implementation and enforcement of TikTok’s policies across 30 European countries.

“We’ve also been expanding our team with additional expertise and making key resources from across the business available to ensure our future compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA).”


“We’ve also been expanding our team with additional expertise and making key resources from across the business available to ensure our future compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA),” TikTok said.

TikTok published its Community Guidelines Enforcement Reports in December 2022, providing insights into the nature of content and accounts removed from the platform to comply with the DSA.

The company most recently pledged to continue to enhance external visibility and combat disinformation in Europe.

TikTok signed up to voluntary Codes on disinformation and hate speech and developed a platform research API.

“We’re proud to have played our part in the collaborative, co-regulatory process to draft the strengthened EU Code of Practice on Disinformation, and to be sharing our first baseline report under this new Code, building on our work as a signatory to the previous code,” TikTok said.

Its latest investment intention in Europe is the planned expansion of its data storage capacity in the continent, with plans for a second data center in Ireland in partnership with a third-party service provider, as well as a third data center in Europe to further complement its planned operations in Ireland.

“European TikTok user data will begin migrating this year, continuing into 2024,” TikTok sa.

In Europe, TikTok operates in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Globally, TikTok was estimated by the Business of Apps to have around 1.8 billion monthly active users as of the end of 2022, up from 1.2 billion at the end of 2021. 

However, due to challenges including the lackluster appetite for advertising, TikTok was recently reported to have slashed its global revenue target this year by 20%, or by at least $2 billion.

The company also reportedly laid off staff in the US and Europe in mid-2022 amid the sector-wide job shedding in the tech industry.

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