The European Commission has banned its staff members from using TikTok on their phones and corporate devices to protect the union’s data and increase its cybersecurity.
This new rule forbids 32,000 of the governing body’s employees from using the social platform even from their own personal devices, saying that they must uninstall TikTok before March 15.
"[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... 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 said in a statement.
EU spokeswoman Sonya Gospodinova explained further by saying the goal of the ban is to protect the commission against cybersecurity threats “which may be exploited for cyberattacks against the corporate environment of the commission.”
The growing mobile app has reacted to the commission’s decision by saying it was based on mistaken ideas. “"We are disappointed with this decision, which we believe to be misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions," a TikTok spokesperson shared.
The EU Commission ban comes after long-standing issues and growing apprehensions towards TikTok’s data privacy and security guidelines.
Last month, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee planned to vote on a bill that aims to restrict usage of TikTok in the U.S. as they claim it puts national security at risk with China potentially pressuring them to obtain user data."ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data," Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers explained.
In early February, Alicia Kearns, chair of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, warned TikTok users about the possibility of data penetration. “Our data is a key vulnerability and China is building a tech-totalitarian state on the back of our data, so we have to get far more serious about protecting ourselves," she explained.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is slated to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23.