The European Commission has banned its employees from using the TikTok social media app over security concerns amid allegations of data sharing by the app’s parent company with the Chinese government.
The 32,000-strong workforce of the European Union’s executive arm will be prohibited starting March 15 from having the app installed on their business devices and any personal device upon which business software, such as work e-mails, is installed.
“To increase its cybersecurity, the Commission’s Corporate Management Board has decided to suspend the use of the TikTok application on its corporate devices and on personal devices enrolled in the Commission mobile device service,” the commission said in a statement on Thursday.
The announcement comes amid allegations that ByteDance, the Chinese-owned parent company of the social media platform, has been harvesting users’ data and handing it to the Chinese government, an allegation the company has strongly denied.
“We are disappointed with this decision, which we believe to be misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions,” a ByteDance spokesperson said.
The company said it had 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 move follows similar action taken by the U.S. federal government last year to ban the app on federal devices citing national security concerns.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to hold a vote next month on legislation seeking to impose a national ban on the social media app across the United States, a ban initially floated during Donald Trump’s presidency.