EDITORIAL INTERNATIONAL.- The French government on Friday banned the installation and use of “leisure” applications, such as the TikTok social network or the American Netflix platform, on the professional phones of 2.5 million agents of the Civil Service.
These applications present “dangers in terms of cyber security and data protection of public agents and administrations”, sources close to the French Civil Service Minister Stanislas Guerini said.
This move follows in the footsteps of several Western governments and institutions that have banned or limited the use of TikTok in the professional arts, fearing investigative issues.
The company’s CEO faced questioning from US lawmakers on Thursday. TikTok, the tech company’s owner, has long stated that it does not share data with the Chinese government.
Shou Zi Chew’s testimony comes at a big time for the company, which has reached 150 million users, but is under increasing pressure from US officials. TikTok and parent company ByteDance have found themselves embroiled in a broader geopolitical trade and technology war between Beijing and Washington.
The company points out that it is implementing a plan to collect data on American users in the United States, which it says is out of reach of China. It also rejects accusations that it collects more user data than other social media companies and insists it is run independently.
In a rare bipartisan effort to reign in control over a major social media platform, Republican and Democratic lawmakers pressed Chew on numerous questions, ranging from TikTok’s content control practices to how the company plans to protect American users’ data from Beijing and its investigation. .
“Mr. Chew, you are here because the American people need the truth about the threat that TikTok poses to our national and personal security,” said House Speaker Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, in an opening statement. “TikTok has often chosen the path of control, more surveillance, and more engineering.”
Chew, a 40-year-old Singaporean, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that TikTok prioritizes the safety of its young users and denied allegations that it is a national security risk. The company’s policy emphasized to protect US user data, all of that information is maintained and owned by the software giant Oracle.
Let me say this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent for China or any other country,” Chew said.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers asked him if he was in regular communication with Bytedance CEO Liang Rubo, to which Chew said yes.
Apart from France, many governments remain cautious about the platform and its links to China. These places have partial or full bans on TikTok.