Home MarketsEurope & Middle East The European Commission bans employees from using TikTok, citing security risks

The European Commission bans employees from using TikTok, citing security risks

by SuperiorInvest

Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok Inc., speaks during the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.

Bryan van der Beek | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has banned its staff from using TikTok on their smartphones amid concerns from Western governments about the risks the platform could pose to national security.

The commission said employees will no longer be able to have the Chinese-owned app installed on company and personal devices, citing concerns about how it handles user data.

“The purpose of this measure is to protect the Commission from cyber security threats and actions that can be exploited for cyber attacks against the Commission’s corporate environment,” the Commission said in a statement released on Thursday.

“The security developments of other social media platforms will also be continuously monitored,” he added.

Movement highlights more aggressive tone Europe has recently taken notice of TikTok, which has long avoided regulatory scrutiny in the bloc. US lawmakers voted to block the app in December and some are calling for a nationwide ban on the service.

Western officials worry about the Chinese government’s potential influence over TikTok — especially the risk that it could allow Beijing to spy on citizens. TikTok admitted that data on its European users is accessed by employees based in China, but denies sharing such information with the Chinese government.

Last month, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton warned that the app could face a possible ban if it did not comply with the upcoming Digital Services Act, which will impose sweeping requirements on TikTok, Twitter and several other platforms this summer to remove illegal content, curb misinformation, and better protect minors.

“The European Commission’s suspension of TikTok on corporate devices is misleading and based on fundamental misconceptions,” Caroline Greer, TikTok’s head of public policy, said on Twitter. “We asked for a meeting to set the record straight.

“We continue to improve our approach to data security – we are establishing three data centers in Europe for local storage of user data; we further limit employee access to data and minimize data flows outside of Europe.”

TikTok is not yet a monster on the scale of companies like it Target, Alphabet and Amazon when it comes to social media, advertising and e-commerce. However, its rise in the region should not be underestimated. The platform now has 150 million users in Europe, according to a company statement last week.

TikTok, which employs 5,000 people in Europe, sought to allay concerns from regulators by outlining plans to migrate European users’ information to data centers under development in Ireland. Last week, the firm announced it would open a third data center in the country.

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