The staff of the European Union (EU) are no longer permitted to use TikTok due to cyber security issues. On Thursday morning, Brussels executive directed the employees to remove the Chinese video-sharing app in an email issued to personnel of the European Commission. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is of Chinese origin.
The email read, “To protect the Commission’s data and increase its cybersecurity, the EC (European Commission) Corporate Management Board has decided to suspend the TikTok application on corporate devices and personal devices enrolled in the Commission mobile device services.”
EU staff is asked to uninstall the app from their mobile devices by March 15. “As of 15 March, devices with the app installed will be considered non-compliant with the corporate environment,” the email continued.
Furthermore, they are not allowed to use the social media app on their personal phones or other devices that are running official programs.
The European Union’s other institutions, including the Council and the Parliament, are likely to follow suit and impose a ban on the Chinese app, albeit it might take a lot longer for the latter to do so.
Meanwhile, TikTok called the decision misguided. “We are disappointed with this decision, which we believe to be misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions. We have contacted the Commission to set the record straight and explain how we protect the data of the 125 million people across the EU who come to TikTok every month,” said the app’s spokesperson.
Concerns about Beijing’s access to user data have led to increased scrutiny of Chinese apps, especially TikTok, worldwide.
The app was prohibited from federal government devices in the US, and some US legislators are attempting to ban TikTok from operating in the country. Due to similar worries, the Dutch government last month warned public servants to avoid using the app.
The British Parliament’s TikTok account was closed in August after members of parliament who had been sanctioned by China voiced worries about data security.
In December of last year, French President Emmanuel Macron attacked the company, labeling it “deceptively innocent” and a reason for “serious addiction” among consumers.
In November, TikTok confessed that some employees in China have access to the data of customers in Europe.
Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, met with EU representatives in Brussels last month for negotiations during which they cautioned TikTok to safeguard the security of the data of European users.
An EU spokesperson said, “He insisted the corporation was developing a ‘robust’ method for handling Europeans’ data in the same continent.”
India too has banned multiple Chinese apps, since the year 2020, including TikTok, for collecting critical private data and user information in the country.