The European Parliament has ordered its staff to delete TikTok and urged its MEPs to uninstall it from their devices by 20th March 2023 due to security concerns.
This decision comes less than a week since the EU Commission and Council of the EU urged their staff to remove the app from their corporate and personal devices on 23rd February 2023. Staffers who fail to do so by 15th March will lose access to the institution’s corporate application services, such as email and Skype.
“Cybersecurity concerns have been raised on the usage of the social media platform TikTok, in particular regarding data protection and collection of data by third parties,” read the EU Parliament’s email seen by Politico.
Concerns arise due to the company behind the application, ByteDance. It is a private Chinese tech company which is partly owned by state-run enterprises of the People’s Republic of China.
The precarious ownership of the app’s company has led to numerous concerns over the years that Chinese authorities use the app to spy on particular individuals. In December 2022, Forbes confirmed that ByteDance used TikTok to monitor journalists’ physical location using their IP addresses.
However, not everyone is concerned, a spokesperson for the European People’s Party, the largest group of MEPs in the European Parliament, said, “I think it is absurd to abandon the highest-growing social network in Europe, even if the Chinese are using it for spying.”
The social media platform is used by over 150 million across Europe, and in a recent statement, it stated that TikTok has “become part of the culture and fabric of everyday life for people in Europe.”
Over the years, TikTok has taken steps to build trust with users in Europe by focusing on transparency and expanding the labelling of state-affiliated content on the app, however, this does not seem to have been enough to placate EU leaders.
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