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Why is the European Parliament banning the social media app TikTok on staff phones?

Another European Union governing body announced that TikTok, the short video-sharing app, will be banned from staff phones, joining other nations to do so.

The European Parliament bans TikTok on staff phones

The European Parliament has reportedly decided that it would ban the short video-sharing app TikTok from all staff government phones as well as some personal devices. It is the third European Union institution to implement such a ban joining other nations and US states in doing so.

Like the institutions that are requiring staff to remove the app, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, security concerns were stated as the reason. Beijing and the apps parent company say that those worries are unfounded.

Where is TikTok banned?

The latest ban in the European Union on Tuesday not only applies to parliamentary staff phones, but also personal devices with government email and other network access installed on them. Canada announced its own ban of TikTok on Monday days after the European Commission and EU Council implemented their own restrictions.

This follows similar moves in other nations such as Taiwan and the United States in December. The White House said on Monday that all government agencies have 30 days to ensure that the Chinese app is removed from all federal devices or systems that they use.

Congress passed a bill in December to ban TikTok from government devices, but the House is taking up new legislation on Tuesday which would go further. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote on a series of China-related bills. One of those would take away longstanding protections from sanctions on companies that transfer “informational materials” to or from a foreign country which TikTok successfully argued in court applied to their digital content in the past.

India for its part has completely banned the short video-sharing app since June 2020 along with 58 other Chinese-created apps. An additional 118 mobile apps were banned a few months later. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

Why are governments banning TikTok?

TikTok creator ByteDance has come under increased scrutiny from governments and regulators over concerns of its proximity to the government in Beijing. There are fears that the Chinese government could gain access to the company’s database and harvest users’ data to spy on Western nations and potentially use the app to advance China’s interests. The Chinese government has regularly denied having any such intentions.


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