The French government has banned TikTok and all other “recreational apps” from phones issued to its employees. The Minister of Transformation and the Public Service Stanislas Guerini, said in a statement that recreational applications do not have sufficient levels of cybersecurity and data protection to be deployed on government equipment. This prohibition applies immediately and uniformly, although exemptions may be granted on an exceptional basis for professional needs such as the institutional communication of an administration, the statement read.
The move follows the banning of TikTok on government/senior official devices in the US, UK, and other countries on the grounds that user data from the app (owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance) could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, posing national security risks. France’s banning of all social media apps goes further than other countries, whose bans currently forbid TikTok specifically.
France joins international partners by banning TikTok on data security grounds
“For several weeks, several of our European and international partners have adopted measures restricting or prohibiting the downloading and installation of the TikTok application by their administrations,” Guerini said. After an analysis of the issues, in particular security, the government has decided to ban the downloading and installation of recreational applications on professional telephones provided to public officials. “These applications can therefore constitute a risk to the protection of the data of these administrations and their public officials,” Guerini claimed.
The Interministerial Digital Department (DINUM) will ensure the implementation of this instruction, in close collaboration with the National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI).
TikTok bans continue across the globe, CEO says app poses no national security risk
In the last two weeks, TikTok has been banned from both UK government and parliament devices/networks, with US federal and state government TikTok bans having been in place for several weeks. Meanwhile, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has disputed that the app is an “agent of China” and argued that TikTok poses no risk to national security in a US Congress hearing. Over multiple days, Chew was pressed by deputies on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on various topics such as TikTok’s content moderation practices and the company’s spying on journalists.
Chew argued that TikTok parent company ByteDance prioritizes the safety of its young users, highlighting the firm’s intention to protect US user data by storing information on servers maintained and owned by server giant Oracle. Several committee members reportedly found some of Chew’s answers evasive.