The European Commission is following in the footsteps of the United States, which in January banned the use of TikTok by House staff over misgivings about the Chinese platform’s use of personal data. This is indicated by an email its workers received on Thursday: “To protect UNHCR’s data and cybersecurity, the company’s board of directors has decided to suspend the use of the TikTok app on their electronic devices and on personal devices registered to the commission’s mobile device service (for example, if you use apps commission),” he says. “The action is necessary due to data protection issues related to the application,” adds the text, which EL PAÍS was able to see and was developed by euroactiv. The Council of the European Union, a body in which the 27 member states are represented, also applies similar measures and is being considered by the European Parliament.
The letter, which was received by European Commission staff, warns them that they have until March 15 to uninstall the Chinese app TikTok from their devices. If they don’t do so at that time, those devices will “be deemed unsuitable for the company’s environment.” The result will be that European officials will not be able to access email, Skype for Business, or other similar digital tools. The information was confirmed at noon by spokespeople for the CEO of the Society with a statement reiterating the arguments made to the workers: “This measure is intended to protect the Commission from threats to cyber security and actions that can be used in cyber attacks against companies in the environment of the Authority. Security development will also be reviewed to other social media platforms constantly.
This initiative is similar to the one already adopted by the US Congress at the beginning of the year and illustrates the suspicions that applications and technological products from China arouse among Western authorities. They fear that the Asian giant will use these programs as spy tools. Already in 2020, the then President of the United States, Donald Trump, wanted to ban the use of TikTok in the country. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he recommended against downloading the applications Unless those who do want their private information to end up “in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party”.
“The European Commission is an institution and has, as you know, a very strong commitment to cyber security, and of course to everyone who works here at the Commission,” explained the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, when asked. about this issue. However, at the time he avoided publicly confirming the action until the official statement finally arrived.
For its part, TikTok considers the decision “wrong and based on fundamental misconceptions.” “We have contacted the Commission to clarify the issue and explain how we protect the data of the 125 million EU citizens who use TikTok every month,” company sources confirmed to this newspaper.
The social network owned by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance is one of the most popular at the moment, especially among young people who prefer it over Google for search. Its outage, and its success, has caused other already established social networks, such as Instagram, to release features similar to TikTok’s suggestion: short videos selected by the algorithm.
TikTok’s numbers give you an idea of its impact. It has 1 billion users and was one of the most downloaded apps in the world in 2022. It got more traffic than Google and managed to retain users longer than YouTube.
However, the integrity of the social network has been questioned on several occasions. In December, for example, he admitted that he was spying on journalists from Forbes They were working on an investigation about the platform. TikTok, like other social networks, is being investigated in the US for the effects it causes on the mental health of young people.
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