TikTok bans are going global.
The European Commission has followed the example set by dozens of governors across the United States. The top executive body in the European Union has banned TikTok on its employees’ work devices.
A spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that the Commission’s TikTok ban contains multiple stipulations. It affects both public devices and any private devices that have work-related apps — such as email clients — installed on them. WSJ noted that the ban will affect “thousands of employees” who receive a salary from the Brussels-based body.
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By opting for a wide-reaching TikTok ban, the Commission is following the example set by U.S. politicians. Republican governors were the first officials to prohibit TikTok on public devices, and they have since been joined by many of their Democratic colleagues.
As those mandates have spread across the country, the officials responsible for them have received praise from their European counterparts. French President Emmanuel Macron has been one of the most vocal anti-TikTok leaders. He has described the video platform as a “deceptively innocent” app that is responsible for “real addiction.”
After taking plenty of anti-TikTok talk, the European Commission is now walking the walk. The body did not share a specific reason for the ban, though TikTok has been plagued by ongoing security questions. The company’s potential ties to Chinese power players has raised the alarm among global officials, and TikTok has not helped itself as it looks to assuage widespread fears. It dealt itself a PR blow after admitting that some of its employees had tracked journalists via their user data.
TikTok has gone on a charm offensive since those stories came to light. But even as its execs promise “unprecedented levels of transparency,” there are still a number of prominent officials who need more convincing. The European Commission ban shows that TikTok’s opponents remain unsatisfied with the app’s current security measures.
The CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, will have a chance to offer a public explanation of his company’s practices when he appears in front of Congress next month. His testimony will be a chance to engage with legislators, though he will still have to appeal to American executive branch as well as its European counterpart. Joe Biden stressed the need for a more secure internet in his 2023 State of the Union. It was the second-straight year he used his annual address to target tech companies.