After more than half of the US states have banned TikTok on government owned devices, the European Commission has also banned the app. Eurocrats were requested to delete the Chinese app via email on Thursday and they have time to do so until 15 March.
“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,” read the email, according to EURACTIV. The staff should proceed with deleting the app “at their earliest convenience,” but no later than 15 March. “As of 15 March, devices with the app installed will be considered non-compliant with the corporate environment.”
A press release from the Commission specifies that “the security developments of other social media platforms will also be kept under constant review,” adding that “the Commission is committed to ensuring that its staff is well protected against increasing cyber threats and incidents. It is, therefore, our duty to respond as early as possible to potential cyber alerts.”
About 32,000 people work for the Commission and another 3,100 for the Council, which also introduced the same measure. TikTok argued the decision is 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.” The platform’s spokesperson added: “We are surprised that the Commission did not contact us directly nor offer any explanation — we have requested a meeting.”
Up until now, no European government has banned the Chinese app on its devices, although public authorities in the Netherlands were advised against using it.