Home / Industry News / European Commission Orders Staff to Remove TikTok App for Security Reasons

European Commission Orders Staff to Remove TikTok App for Security Reasons

European Commission Orders Staff to Remove TikTok App for Security Reasons



The European Commission has ordered its staff to remove the popular video-sharing app, TikTok, from their personal and work devices in a bid to enhance cybersecurity and protect sensitive data. The move comes amidst concerns that the Chinese-owned platform may be harvesting users’ data and sharing it with the Chinese authorities.

TikTok has repeatedly denied these allegations, insisting that it operates like any other social media platform. However, its Chinese ownership has raised suspicions in Western countries that it may be used as a tool for Beijing to access sensitive information.

Business IT Support

The ban means that European Commission staff must remove the TikTok app from all their devices, including personal ones that have access to EU data, as soon as possible and no later than March 15th. It’s important to note that failure to comply with the ban by the set deadline will not only result in removal of TikTok but also revocation of access to corporate apps, such as the commission email and Skype for Business. This highlights the seriousness of the European Commission’s concerns about the potential cybersecurity threats posed by TikTok, which are believed to be significant enough to warrant such a strong action.

EU spokeswoman, Sonya Gospodinova, said that the ban was necessary to protect the commission against cybersecurity threats and actions that could be exploited for cyberattacks against its corporate environment. She added that the decision was made by the corporate management board of the European Commission for security reasons.

TikTok has grown rapidly and has been downloaded more than three billion times worldwide, making it the first non-Meta app to reach this milestone, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower Data. However, concerns over data privacy and cybersecurity have led to increased scrutiny of the platform, particularly in the West.

Last year, TikTok admitted that some of its staff in China had access to the data of European users, further fuelling concerns over data privacy. The app’s parent company, ByteDance, has faced increasing Western scrutiny over fears about how much access Beijing has to user data.

The US government banned TikTok last year on federal government-issued devices due to national security concerns. The US fears that the Chinese government may use TikTok to access those devices and US user data. Similarly, the Dutch government reportedly advised public officials to avoid the app over similar concerns.

In the UK, MP Alicia Kearns, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, recently urged users to delete the app in an interview with Sky News. She cited concerns about the app’s potential links to the Chinese government and its access to users’ data.

TikTok’s Chief Executive, Shou Zi Chew, was in Brussels in January for talks with EU officials during which they warned the company to ensure the safety of European users’ data, adding that it had a long way to go to regain their trust. Chew insisted that the company was working on a “robust” system for processing Europeans’ data in Europe, according to an EU spokesman.

TikTok has also promised to hold US users’ data in the United States to allay Washington’s concerns.

The European Commission’s decision to ban TikTok from its devices highlights the growing concerns about data privacy and cybersecurity in an era of rapidly evolving technology. The move is also a sign of the increasing tensions between Western countries and China over issues of data privacy and national security.

While TikTok has denied any wrongdoing, its Chinese ownership and the accusations against it have led to calls for greater regulation of social media platforms to ensure that users’ data is protected and their privacy is respected.

In the meantime, the European Commission’s ban on TikTok serves as a warning to other companies that they must take data privacy and cybersecurity seriously if they want to operate in the EU.

Tamas Biro
About the author

Empowering London Businesses with Efficient IT Solutions to Save Time and Stay Ahead of the Competition.

Contact Info

Free Consultation