By David Shepardson and Echo Wang
(Reuters) -Chinese-owned social media site TikTok told U.S. senators it was working on a final agreement with the Biden Administration that would "fully safeguard user data and U.S. national security interests," according to a letter seen Friday by Reuters.
TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew told senators in a letter dated Thursday the short video app was working with Oracle Corp on "new advanced data security controls that we hope to finalize in the near future."
Last month, TikTok said it had completed migrating information on its U.S. users to servers at Oracle but it was still using U.S. and Singapore data centers for backup.
TikTok's letter acknowledged that China-based employees "can have access to TikTok U.S. user data subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based security team."
TikTok said as it continues to work on data issues it expects "to delete U.S. users protected data from our own systems and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the U.S."
A TikTok spokesperson confirmed the company sent a response to the senators' letter. "We look forward to connecting with Members of congress to discuss the substance of our letter," the spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.
Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn said TikTok "should have come clean from the start but instead tried to shroud their work in secrecy. Americans need to know that if they are on TikTok, Communist China has their information. TikTok needs to come back and testify before Congress."
The letter comes nearly two years after a U.S. national security panel ordered parent company ByteDance to divest TikTok because of fears that U.S. user data could be passed on to China's communist government.
"We know we are among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of U.S. user data," the letter said.
TikTok is one of the world's most popular social media apps, with more than 1 billion active users globally, and counts the United States as its largest market.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Echo Wang; Editing by Richard Chang)