The European Union (EU) has banned the use of TikTok on all work-issued devices, including personal devices using corporate apps, citing concerns over data protection and cybersecurity. The EU executive’s IT service communicated the request via email to officials on Thursday, urging them to uninstall the Chinese-owned social media app as soon as possible and no later than March 15. Failure to comply by the set deadline would result in the suspension of corporate apps such as the Commission email and Skype for Business. The measure aims to protect Commission data and systems from potential cybersecurity threats. TikTok has been banned on government devices in the US, and Dutch officials were reportedly advised against using the app. In November, TikTok admitted that the personal data of users worldwide could be accessed in its Chinese headquarters.
In response to the ban, a TikTok spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The app has previously stated that it does not collect more user data than rival apps and welcomes the opportunity to discuss its security practices with regulators. Some US and European lawmakers and officials have expressed concern that Beijing could force TikTok to hand over data on its users or influence the videos they view.
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The European Commission is also preparing to enforce strict regulations on how large social media platforms handle illegal content and users’ complaints about decisions to ban or limit the reach of their posts. TikTok is expected to be among the targeted platforms. The EU’s commissioner for internal markets, Thierry Breton, has repeatedly warned Twitter that it needs to do more to prepare for the new EU social media rules.
TikTok has been banned on staff work devices by the EU's executive body, following similar moves affecting state and federal officials in the U.S. https://t.co/xRACA2r7rl— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 23, 2023
The ban on TikTok on work-issued devices in the EU is a part of a wider, patchwork of similar, limited bans affecting US officials. The move will affect thousands of employees of the EU’s top executive body. The reasons for the EU’s decision have not been specified, but the move is in line with officials’ scrutiny of the app over security concerns. In Europe, some Dutch parliament members are proposing a similar ban.