BRUSSELS: The European Commission has banned TikTok on official devices used by staff amid concerns over data protection, a spokesperson told AFP on Thursday.
The ban also means European Commission staff cannot use the Chinese-owned video-sharing app on personal devices including phones that have official apps installed, the spokesperson said, confirming a report by news website Euractiv.
Employees must remove the app as soon as possible and should do so by March 15.
In a press conference on Thursday, EU industry chief Thierry Breton announced the European Commission's decision and said that the EU executive is very focused on cybersecurity. However, he declined to provide further details on whether there were any incidents involving TikTok.
TikTok said it regrets the “misguided” ban on European Commission devices.
TikTok, whose parent company ByteDance is Chinese, has faced increasing Western scrutiny in recent months over fears about how much access Beijing has to user data.
The United States last year banned the app from federal government devices, and some US lawmakers are trying to prohibit TikTok from operating in the United States.
Last month, the Dutch government reportedly advised public officials to steer clear of the app over similar concerns.
In November, TikTok admitted some staff in China can access the data of European users.
TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew was in Brussels last month for talks with EU officials during which they warned TikTok to ensure the safety of European users’ data.
He insisted the company was working on a “robust” system for processing Europeans’ data in Europe, an EU spokesman said at the time.
TikTok has also promised to hold US users’ data in the United States to allay Washington’s concerns.