TikTok Introduces Groundbreaking API for Data Portability, Prior to Europe’s DMA Compliance Deadline

TikTok is introducing a data portability API to help it comply with new European regulations designed to rein in Big Tech’s market dominance through various obligations and restrictions. Data transfersData portability and interoperability constitutes a major part of the DMA regulations, and tech companies have been bolstering their efforts on this front for several years in preparation. Thus the data portability API goes some way toward addressing that limitation, allowing third-party developers to build conduits for data to travel from TikTok to their own apps — if the user authorizes this. Through the API, developers can request access to “all available data,” or individual categories including TikTok posts and profile data, activity, and direct messages (DMs). The data portability API is available to applicants globally, but the developer must be able to demonstrate a “well-defined use case” before they will be approved.

TikTok has announced the introduction of a data portability API to ensure compliance with new European regulations aimed at curbing Big Tech’s market dominance through various obligations and restrictions.

The European Union (EU) has designated six tech companies as “gatekeepers” last September, including TikTok parent Bytedance, under the regulatory radar alongside Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft. Though TikTok/Bytedance is currently disputing its gatekeeper status, arguing that it is a challenger rather than an incumbent, it still has to adhere to the Digital Markets Act (DMA) obligations, which become effective on March 6.

Data transfers

Data portability and interoperability form an important part of the DMA regulations, and tech companies have been ramping up their efforts in this field for a few years now in preparation. TikTok had already allowed users to download a copy of their posts and request a copy of their data to use on other platforms, but this process was static and did not take into account the constantly changing nature of data.

The new data portability API aims to address this limitation by allowing third-party developers to create conduits for transferring data from TikTok to their own apps, with the user’s authorization. This feature can be set up for one-time or recurring transfers and seeks to break away from the “walled garden” approach commonly associated with traditional social networks.

Developers can use the API to request access to “all available data” or specific categories such as TikTok posts, profile data, activity, and direct messages (DMs).

The data portability API is available to developers globally, but they need to demonstrate a “well-defined use case” for their request to be approved. Additionally, the API is only applicable to users from the European Economic Area (EEA), so developers must also be able to distinguish their target market regionally.

Besides the API, TikTok has also refreshed its main ‘download your data’ tool, giving users the option to choose which categories of data they want to download, such as DMs or posts. The update will roll out first in the EEA, with plans to make it available globally in the future.

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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