After several governments banned the use of TikTok on company cell phones, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas warned MPs to be careful. “TikTok is not installed on the cell phones of the Bundestag administration,” the SPD politician reported to the newspapers of the Funke media group on Sunday. “The MPs, on the other hand, are free to do so. I can only appeal here: Pay attention to the data! You have to be aware that the data may be misused.”
“Young voters use social media to find out”
Bas pointed out that the servers of the Chinese TikTok provider Bytedance are located abroad. “It’s not just the case with TikTok, but also with Facebook or Instagram.” Bytedance currently stores data from European users in Singapore and the USA. The company now announced its “Project Clover for data security in Europe” and announced that it would open data centers in Ireland and Norway.
The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection (BfDI), Ulrich Kelber, is currently also recommending that the federal ministries and authorities not use TikTok on company devices. However, Bas does not believe that a complete withdrawal from social media is right. “Many young voters only use social media to find out about politics. If we want to appeal to young people, we need social media.”
Bans in Canada, Denmark, USA
The Canadian government banned Tiktok from all federal-issued mobile devices in late February. In Denmark, several ministries have banned the use of TikTok on company cell phones. The Danish Ministry of Defense instructed its employees in early March to delete the app, which is only “limitedly necessary” for work.
In the United States, the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently introduced a bill that would allow President Joe Biden to ban Tiktok across the country. In some US states, the use of the app has been prohibited since 2022.
The approximately 32,000 employees of the EU Commission have also not been able to use TikTok on their work cell phones since March 15, 2023. The so-called management control body decided this in order to “protect the Commission from cyber security threats and cyber measures that can be used for cyber attacks on the business environment of the Commission,” said a statement from the Commission.