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EU Commission, citing security, bans TikTok on staff phones


(Reuters) — The European Commission has banned Chinese short video-sharing app TikTok from its employees’ corporate phones for cybersecurity reasons, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said Thursday.

It is the first EU institution to do so.

Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok is under scrutiny from governments and regulators because of concerns that China's government could use its app to harvest users’ data or advance its interests.

Mr. Breton, who announced the move at a news conference in Brussels, declined to say whether the Commission had been subject to any incidents involving TikTok.

Responding to the announcement, TikTok said it was disappointed and surprised that the Commission had not reached out before instituting the ban.

The U.S. Senate in December passed a bill to bar federal employees from using TikTok on government-owned devices. TikTok is banned in India.

A spokesperson for TikTok said it had not been contacted directly by the Commission, nor offered any explanation for the decision.

“We believe this suspension is misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions. We have contacted the Commission to 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,” the spokesperson said.