TikTok insists that American user data is stored in the US and that the Chinese government has no jurisdiction over the content. Credit: CNet.

A former US defense staffer will head Tiktok’s security section as the company wrestles with concerns over its handling of private user data, Caixin reported.

The social media app owned by ByteDance announced it hired cyber security executive and former US defense staff Roland Cloutier as its newly created chief information security officer.

According to a statement released Friday, Cloutier will report to TikTok’s head Alex Zhu, who said that having him will enable the company to make good on its promise to “maximize security” on the TikTok platform, the report said.

Before taking on the new role at TikTok, Cloutier worked as chief security officer at payroll processing company ADP, where he oversaw the security of personal information. He also previously served in the US Air Force, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs, the report said.

Cloutier’s appointment comes as TikTok tries to reassure some US lawmakers who claim that the app collects data from the devices of its users, which it then shares with Chinese authorities, posing a national security threat.

On Wednesday, U.S. senator Josh Hawley has promised to introduce legislation to ban all federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices. The move follows several US government agencies that have already barred their employees from using the app, the report said.

However, TikTok has long denied such allegations, arguing that American user data is stored in the US and that the Chinese government has no jurisdiction over the content published on its platform.

Last year, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States launched a national security probe into ByteDance’s 2017 acquisition of US social media app Musical.ly, which was rebranded as TikTok in 2018.