European Parliament Bans TikTok from Staff Devices

    European Parliament Bans TikTok from Staff Devices
    Last updated Mar 01, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via BBC]


    • Following suit with decisions from the European Commission and the EU Council last week, the European Parliament on Tuesday banned TikTok from staff devices, underlining mounting unease over allegations that the social media app allows the Chinese government to harvest users' data.[1]
    • The new ban means that staff at the European institutions cannot use the video-sharing app — owned by Chinese firm ByteDance — on work devices, or personal devices that have official EU communication apps installed. Employees must remove the app by March 15.[2]
    • EU industry chief Thierry Breton, who announced the European Commission's ban last week, declined to say whether any incidents involving TikTok had taken place before officials decided to restrict access to the app.[3]
    • Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), along with their staff and accredited assistants, are also advised to remove TikTok from their devices, according to a note sent by the parliament.[4]
    • TikTok said the EU's decision was based on mistaken ideas about how it operates. In January, TikTok's chief executive Shou Zi Chew was in Brussels trying to convince EU officials that the company was working on a "robust" system for processing European data in Europe. TikTok has also promised Washington to hold US users' data stateside.[5]
    • The EU ban follows similar moves in the US, where TikTok is banned from the devices of Senate employees. Canada also banned TikTok from all government-owned devices earlier in the week and the app is further banned in India.[2]


    Anti-China narrative

    TikTok creator ByteDance has come under increased scrutiny from governments and regulators over fears that Beijing could gain access to the company's database, something it could use to harvest users' data to spy on Western nations to advance China's interests. The EU institutions' ban on TikTok is based on legitimate security concerns.

    Pro-China narrative

    TikTok was caught completely off guard when the European Union’s executive arm told its staff to delete the video-sharing app from phones last week. The EU never reached out to the company prior to its decision, nor did it previously voice its concerns. Normally, EU institutions would inform a company of any case against it and what any relevant evidence had shown. They never gave TikTok a chance to defend itself.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 20% chance the US will ban TikTok before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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