Some few days ago, TikTok got a ban in Canada due to acclaimed security threats to the Canadian government. Canada banned all government issued smartphones and other electronic gadgets from using the Chinese app. Latest news reaching us confirms that Belgium has taken a similar action to ban TikTok from all government issued devices.
On Friday the 10th of February 2023, the prime minister of Belgium announced that the country will temporally ban TikTok on all government smartphones. This ban is put in place due to suspicions over cybersecurity, privacy and misinformation.
According to a post on Alexander de Croo’s website, TikTok will stay banned on all government-issued devices for at least 6 months.
TikTok Reacts to the Ban in Belgium
TikTok has come out to react to this new ban in Belgium by expressing their disappointment in the action. The company said, “we are disappointed at this suspension, which is based on basic misinformation about our company.” The company said it is readily available to meet with officials to address any concerns and set the record straight on misconceptions.
ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok already moved its headquarters from China to Singapore in 2020. An action the company took in order to distant itself from its Chinese roots. Meanwhile, the European Union’s three main institutions and the defense ministry of Denmark have taken a step back against TikTok. These nations have asked all government employees to remove TikTok from all phones that are used for official businesses.
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Why Did Belgium Ban TikTok?
According to De Croo, the state security service and cybersecurity center warned that the app could collect user data and tweak its algorithms to display contents on its news feed.
They also said that the video sharing app could be compelled to perform spying for Beijing. They made this statement without explaining exactly how this will happen.
In an online statement, De Croo said; “We are in a new geopolitical context where influence and surveillance between states have shifted to the digital world”. “We must not be naive: TikTok is a Chinese company which today is obliged to cooperate with the intelligence services. This is the reality. Prohibiting its use on federal service devices is common sense.”
TikTok also published a statement saying that its user data is stored in the U.S. and Singapore. It also spoke about new measures to ease European concerns by storing user data in European data centers. “The Chinese government cannot compel another sovereign nation to provide data stored in that nation’s territory,” it added.
Is TikTok Really a Security Threat?
There is a saying that every prize comes with a price, and TikTok is a typical example of a statement like this. The Chinese video sharing platform has been in the news lately due to several bans here and there. Is TikTok just paying the price for being too popular or it is truly a security threat like these countries are suggesting? Share your thoughts.