France joins a growing list of states that say TikTok lacks sufficient levels of cybersecurity and data protection.
France has banned “recreational” use of TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and other apps on government employees’ phones over concerns about insufficient data security measures.
The ban is to take effect immediately, the Ministry of Public Sector Transformation and Civil Service wrote on Twitter on Friday.
“In order to guarantee the cybersecurity of our administrations and our civil servants, the government has decided to ban recreational applications such as TikTok on the work phones of civil servants,” Stanislas Guerini said on Friday.
He added that for several weeks, several European and international partners of France have adopted measures to restrict or prohibit the download and installation or use of the Chinese video-sharing application TikTok by their administrations.
Guerini said that recreational applications do not have sufficient levels of cybersecurity and data protection to be deployed on government equipment, adding that exemptions can be granted for professional reasons, such as institutional communication of a administration.
A series of governments and institutions have banned TikTok in recent weeks, including the White House, the British parliament, the Dutch and Belgian administrations, the New Zealand parliament and the governments of Canada, India, Pakistan, Taiwan and Jordan.
Concerns over alleged security risks posed by TikTok have most highlighted by US lawmakers and national security officials who say user data collected by the app could be accessed by the Chinese government.
Calls to ban TikTok from government devices gained momentum after FBI Director Christopher Wray said in November it poses national security risks.
Late last month, the European Union’s two biggest political institutions – the Commission and the Council – banned TikTok from staff phones over cybersecurity concerns.
Concerns have grown globally over the Chinese government’s ability to access users’ location and contact data through ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company.
The company’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, pushed back against claims that TikTok or ByteDance are tools of the Chinese government during questioning by US lawmakers on Thursday. The company reiterated that 60% of ByteDance is owned by global institutional investors.
A law implemented by China in 2017 requires companies to provide the government with all personal data relevant to the country’s national security. There is no evidence that TikTok transmitted such data, but fears abound due to the large amount of user data it collects.
Beijing has accused washington to spread misinformation and take down TikTok.
Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the United States had yet to come forward with evidence that TikTok threatened its national security and used the security excuse. data to abuse their power to suppress foreign companies.