The European Commission’s Corporate Management Board has made the decision to ban the video-streaming app TikTok from corporate devices.
The announcement comes as authorities around the world unite to disavow the company’s sordid ties with the Chinese Communist Party.
In a statement released Thursday, the Commission said the ban originates from concerns that user data can be used in cyberattacks against the Commission: “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.”
Although European Commission spokesperson Sonya Gospodinova says the ban is “temporary” and “under constant review and possible reassessment,” a report from CNN also references a statement from another spokesperson who said the Commission will not back down so easily.
“[W]e’re not going to say here what is necessary or not in order for the suspension to be lifted,” spokesperson Eric Mamer said according to CNN.
The report adds that staff at the Commission have until March 15 to delete TikTok from work devices and any personal devices employees use in the scope of their employment.
Not surprisingly, TikTok is panicking. CNN reported that the company slammed the ban as “misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions.”
A spokesperson for TikTok provided CNN with a statement indicating the company has already contacted the Commission to supposedly “‘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.’”
“‘We’re continuing to enhance our approach to data security, including by establishing three data centers in Europe to store user data locally; further reducing employee access to data; and minimizing data flows outside of Europe,’” the spokesperson reportedly added.
It seems the company is running out of options.
Earlier in the month, MRC Free Speech America reported that Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, implored Google and Apple to ban TikTok from its app stores.
“[W]e should accept the very real possibility that the CCP could compel TikTok, via ByteDance, to use its influence to advance Chinese government interests, for example, by tweaking its algorithm to present Americans content to undermine U.S. democratic institutions or muffle criticisms of CCP policy toward Hong Kong, Taiwan, or its Uighur population,” Bennet’s Feb. 2 letter to the companies read.
Original reporting from MRC Free Speech America shows that TikTok shares the authoritarian tendencies of the communist government it’s tied to when it comes to censoring views it disagrees with.
“TikTok canceled the accounts of no fewer than 11 pro-free speech groups since January 2019, according to CensorTrack data. The platform did not provide an explanation for the permanent bans of accounts, like The Babylon Bee; Live Action and its President Lila Rose; American Constitutional Rights Union Executive Director Lt. Col. Allen West and even the Media Research Center’s own MRCTV.”
Earlier in the week, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr shared the results of a study indicating that TikTok currently has “the worst” data security score in the industry.
Carr has consistently implored other Big Tech companies to recognize the national security threat the CCP-tied app poses to devices manufactured by the companies.
“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It's not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That's the sheep's clothing. At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data," Carr wrote in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai in 2022.
He reiterated his statements later in the year, adding: “‘I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban [of TikTok],’ Carr said, citing recent revelations about how TikTok and ByteDance handle U.S. user data,” according to Axios.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the CensorTrack contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.