Expanding our presence in Ireland: from 20 to 1,100 employees in 1 year
Cormac Keenan, Head of Trust & Safety, TikTok
At the beginning of 2020, we established our EMEA Trust & Safety Hub in Dublin, to sit alongside Mountain View and Singapore as one of three regional centres designed to further enhance our localised approach to content policy. The goal of this team in Dublin is to ensure our overall approach complements local culture and context, and work closely with regional regulators, policymakers, government and law enforcement agencies in pursuit of the highest standard of user safety possible.
Beginning with fewer than 20 people at the start of the year, there are now nearly 600 people based in Dublin fully dedicated to keeping people on TikTok safe. Our entire user safety strategy, decision-making and enforcement function for Europe and the UK are led by this experienced team, with senior leaders spanning functions including policy-making, product and process, incident management and quality assurance, as well as experts in areas such as minor safety and hate speech.
The rapid growth of this function complements the extraordinary growth of our community. Today, over 100m people in Europe are active on TikTok every month and we want to ensure that as this community continues to grow, we are doing everything we can to keep TikTok as a safe space for positive, creative expression.
With this community growth also comes the need for the TikTok team to further expand and develop. While our initial focus was on establishing and growing this hub, Ireland is an important centre for more than just trust and safety. We have nearly 900 employees in Dublin today, and we expect to create at least another 200 roles over the next three months, bringing our total headcount in Ireland to over 1,100 by January 2021.
A key function is our European data protection and privacy team, which we have built out with the appointment of our Head of Privacy for EMEA and Data Protection Officer during the summer. These appointments - and the expanding wider teams supporting both - complement our decision to make TikTok's Irish company the joint data controller for our users across the EEA and Switzerland in order to help better manage and safeguard user data. Related to this, we also intend to establish a data centre in Ireland by 2022, a €420million investment creating hundreds of new jobs that will see Ireland become the home for TikTok's European user data once operational.
One further important part of our expanding Irish operations is our commercial business - brands are a welcome part of the TikTok community and no matter how big or small your business, we believe your brand deserves to be discovered here. We believe that SMBs are the backbone of the global economy and the engines of growth in Europe. Ireland is the designated hub of our European SMB business, with a Head of SMB and expanding team dedicated to supporting businesses to engage the TikTok community and grow their business.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, said: “TikTok is an amazing success story, made even more remarkable by the short period of time in which it has been operational. Its rise globally has been mirrored by its impressive growth in Ireland – from just twenty employees at the start of 2020 to over 900 today. I welcome TikTok’s commitment to Ireland and its pledge to increase numbers to over 1,100 in 2021. These are high quality jobs, but more specifically, they are aimed at ensuring that people can use the app safely while upholding the highest data protection standards.
“TikTok’s decision to build a new data centre in Ireland will create hundreds of new jobs, and the investment affirms the quality of the Irish workforce, while underlining the Government’s commitment to keep Ireland at the forefront of digital innovation.”
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, said: “This is a major expansion of TikTok’s business functions here in Ireland, especially in the all important areas of trust and safety, data protection and privacy. I am delighted that TikTok has chosen to expand its operations here, and to this degree, creating 900 roles to date and with the promise of an additional 200 by the end of January. It is further proof that Ireland is a location of choice for technology innovators.”
CEO of IDA Ireland, Martin Shanahan said: “News of TikTok’s rapid expansion of its operations here is very welcome; its ability to scale up to this degree so quickly speaks to the strength of Ireland’s offering generally and in particular our skills pool and vibrant technology ecosystem. It puts Tik Tok’s Irish site at the centre of its global operations and in doing so, demonstrates huge commitment by the company to Ireland. Growth in job numbers – from just 20 at the beginning of the year to 900 today and with a further plan to reach 1100 over the next three months is particularly welcome. I wish TikTok continued success with its operations here.”
Vanessa Pappas, Interim Head of TikTok: "In less than a year, Ireland has rapidly become a vital centre for both our European and global operations. Its strong pool of skilled and diverse talent, booming digital and technology sector, and rich heritage of arts and culture, make it such an attractive base for a platform that prides itself on being an inclusive home for creative expression. It was an honour to meet with the Taoiseach yesterday to talk about our incredible growth in Ireland, future plans and the thriving community of Irish creators that have embraced TikTok."
TikTok is a community like no other: it's a platform that entertains and informs users, fuels creators' career ambitions and provides unique opportunities for brands and music artists to reach and engage with their respective audiences in exciting and unexpected ways. None of this would be possible without the expanding talent that makes up the TikTok team - and the high-quality leadership we've assembled in Ireland across trust and safety, data privacy and protection and commercialisation is critical to our continued growth and expansion.
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