On Thursday, The European Commission barred its employees from using TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media platform, citing security concerns, highlighting growing tensions between the West and China
According to Sonya Gospodinova, a commission spokeswoman, the rule applies to both the commission’s official and employees’ devices with installed work-related apps.
” The goal of the measure is to protect the commission from cybersecurity threats, and actions could be used to launch cyberattacks,” she explained. It is the first time that the European Union’s executive arm, the commission, has prohibited its employees from using an app.
According to an email from The New York Times, employees have until March 15 to remove TikTok from their devices. The rule was described as temporary by the commission and may be reviewed in the future.
The EU has been dealing with the growing issue of foreign interference and disinformation from other countries. Some Western lawmakers and regulators believe TikTok may share sensitive information about users with the Chinese government.
Late last year, the United States removed TikTok from national government devices, joining more than two dozen nations and some college campuses.
No European country has yet approved a TikTok ban, though Dutch authorities have stated that they are considering removing the app from government devices.
TikTok has stated that it does not share data with Chinese government officials and has attempted to distance itself from ByteDance, its Chinese-based parent company.
“We believe this suspension is misguided and founded on fundamental misunderstandings,” TikTok stated. The company, which claimed to have 125 million users in the European Union, was working to improve user data security in the region.