WTF?! TikTok often hits the headlines due to claims that its user data is being shared with the Chinese government, but it seems that the company is also exerting unintended (or possibly intentional) influence on one of Europe’s largest ammunition manufacturers.
Nammo, an ammunition manufacturer jointly owned by the Norwegian government and the Finnish state defense company, cannot meet the growing demand for its artillery shells because the local data center, whose main customer is TikTok, uses all the electricity in the region. , preventing the planned expansion of the Nammo plant.
“We are concerned because we see that our future growth will be hindered by the storage of cat videos,” Morten Brandtzag, Nammo’s chief executive, told the Financial Times.
Brandtzæg said that the demand for the company’s artillery shells has grown 15 times higher than usual as a result of the war in Ukraine. He said the country wants to increase the daily number of shells it uses from 6,000 to 65,000 when it fights Russian troops.
Elvia, a local energy company, said that the network has no spare capacity because it operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and promised it to the data center. Brandtzag believes that governments should give priority to electricity for certain industries. “The key industry should have access to energy,” he said. “I don’t think this is an isolated case, I think it’s a trend for the future.”
The fact that China has never publicly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Leader Xi Jinping recently met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow to strengthen relations between the two countries, raises questions about whether this was unintentional on the part of TikTok.
“I do not rule out that it is not a coincidence that this activity is close to a defense company,” Brandtzag said. “I can’t rule it out.”
There are plans to create more TikTok data centers in Norway, as the country offers cheap electricity and a cold climate to reduce cooling costs. By November 2023, it is planned to build the largest data center campus in Norway with a capacity of up to 150 MW. The facility (above) will be completely powered by renewable energy sources, mainly from hydropower.
It has been a difficult month for TikTok in the US. The White House has backed a Senate bill that would allow the country to ban TikTok, which the Biden administration has threatened to do if ByteDance doesn’t sell it to someone outside of China.