France will ban the use of Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok on the work phones of civil servants, Civil Service Minister Stanislas Guerini said on his Twitter account.
“In order to guarantee the cybersecurity of our administrations and civil servants, the government has decided to ban recreational applications such as TikTok on the professional phones of civil servants,” he said in a statement.
He added that for several weeks, several of France’s European and international partners have adopted measures to restrict or ban the downloading and installation of the TikTok application by their administrations.
Guerini said recreational applications do not have sufficient levels of cybersecurity and data protection in order to be deployed on administrations’ equipment, adding that the ban is effective immediately and that government services will monitor compliance.
He said that, exceptionally, exemptions can be given for professional reasons, such as institutional communication of an administration.
A string of Western governments and institutions have banned TikTok in recent weeks, including the UK parliament, the Dutch and Belgian administrations and the New Zealand parliament.
Late last month, the European Union’s two biggest policy-making institutions — the Commission and the Council — banned TikTok from staff phones for cybersecurity reasons.
Concerns have mounted globally about the potential for the Chinese government to access users’ location and contact data through ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company.
Meanwhile, US lawmakers at a congressional hearing on Thursday accused TikTok of serving harmful content and inflicting “emotional distress” on young users, grilling the Chinese-owned app’s CEO on the company’s outsized influence on teens.
Chew, in his first appearance before Congress, testified that while the “vast majority” of TikTok users are over the age of 18, the company has invested in measures to protect young people who use the app.
© Thomson Reuters 2023