TikTok Banned in European Union’s Governing Bodies Over Security Concerns

TikTok Banned in European Union’s Governing Bodies Over Security Concerns
A smartphone with a displayed TikTok logo is placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken on Feb. 23, 2023. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)
Efthymis Oraiopoulos

The Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok has been banned in the two biggest policy-making institutions of the European Union over concerns about cybersecurity and promotion of Beijing’s agenda overseas.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has been widely criticized for its toxic content and is banned by several countries as well as 25 U.S. states, over concerns about data sharing with Beijing and promotion of the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda.

EU industry chief Thierry Breton, who announced the ban by the European Commission, declined to say whether the commission had been subject to any incidents involving TikTok.

The move comes as China and the West are more evidently locked into a tug-of-war ranging from spy balloons to computer-chip production.

The EU executive Commission said in a statement that the decision would apply to work and personal phones and devices.

“To increase its cybersecurity, the Commission’s Corporate Management Board has decided to suspend the use of the TikTok application on its corporate devices and on personal devices enrolled in the Commission mobile device service,” it said in a statement.

“This measure aims to protect the Commission against cybersecurity threats and actions which may be exploited for cyber-attacks against the corporate environment of the Commission,” it added.

TikTok said it was disappointed with the ban.

The European Parliament said it was aware of the Commission’s action and that it was in contact with it.

“Relevant services are also monitoring and assessing all possible data breaches related to the app and will consider the European Commission evaluation before formulating recommendations to European Parliament authorities,” a spokesperson said.

In Norway, which is not a member of the 27-nation EU, the justice minister was forced to apologize this month for failing to disclose that she had installed TikTok on her government-issued phone.

TikTok also has come under pressure from the EU to comply with upcoming new digital regulations aimed at getting big online platforms to clean up toxic and illegal content along with the bloc’s strict data privacy rules.

Other Bans

TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps were banned in India in June 2020, over concerns about their potential harm to the country’s security and integrity.

Taiwan banned TikTok and some other Chinese apps on state-owned devices and in December 2022 launched a probe into the social media app over suspected illegal operations on the island.

The U.S. Congress passed a bill in December 2022 to ban TikTok on federal devices. The bill is yet to be signed off on by President Joe Biden.

Boise State University, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas-Austin, and West Texas A&M University are some of the schools that have banned TikTok on university devices and Wi-Fi networks.

Texas, Maryland, Alabama, and Utah are among over 25 states that have issued orders to staff against using TikTok on government devices.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Efthymis Oraiopoulos is a news writer for NTD, focusing on U.S., sports, and entertainment news.
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