The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, has ordered all of its employees to remove the social media app TikTok from their work-related devices.
The Commission advised employees of its choice “to suspend the TikTok application on business devices and personal devices enrolled in the Commission mobile device service” in an email delivered on Thursday.
The affected devices’ owners had until March 15 to remove the video-sharing software.
According to a statement made by the commission, the directive was intended to defend the Commission against “cybersecurity risks.” Bloomberg adds that the announcement was confirmed in the statement.
The statement read in part, “This measure aims to protect the Commission against cybersecurity threats and actions which may be exploited for cyberattacks against the corporate environment of the Commission.”
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Reacting to the move, a TikTok spokesperson stated, “We are disappointed with this decision, which we believe to be misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions.
“We have contacted the Commission to set the record straight and explain how we protect the data of the 125 million people across the EU who come to TikTok every month.”
The ban comes amid a crackdown by the United States on the Chinese multinational, and parent company of Tiktok, ByteDance.
In December last year, lawmakers of the US Senate introduced a bill to ban the use of the video sharing platform in the country.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated that the app was not just about creating videos, but it serves as a major tool in the hands of the Chinese Government to obtain sensitive data from Americans.
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The introduction of the bill followed a flurry of actions already taken by Republican-led states in the country such as Texas, South Dakota, Maryland, which have all moved to restrict the use of TikTok on government-owned devices.
Similarly, the US military, the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security have all restricted the app from operating on their computer devices.
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