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The European Parliament informed its staff members on Tuesday that it is banning them from using the social networking site TikTok on their work devices, citing data security concerns, following a similar measure announced by the European Commission last Thursday.

The President of the EP, Roberta Metzola, and its Secretary General, Alessandro Ciocchetti, decided that the TikTok app cannot be used on the professional devices of its staff — computers, mobile phones, tablets — from March 20.

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“On this date access to this social networking site from Parliament’s computers will be blocked,” the EP’s directorate general for innovation and technological support (DG ITEC) clarified by email to the institution’s 8,000 employees.

It also issued a “strong” recommendation to staff members to uninstall the TikTok platform software from their personal devices.

The European Commission announced last week that its staff have until March 15 at the latest to uninstall the app from their business devices.

A similar measure was taken by the European Council, the body representing the governments of the 27 member states.

Fears of interception of personal data from China

The bans come as the TikTok platform, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has become the cause of heightened concern in the West over fears Beijing could gain access to user data around the world.

Brussels is coordinating the step with Washington. In the US, a law signed by President Joe Biden in early January prohibits the download, installation and use of the TikTok app on the devices of federal government officials.

About twenty US states have announced measures of this nature for their employees. And in the US Congress, a law under discussion could even lead to an outright ban on the application in the US.

In the EU, ByteDance is at the center of the Irish privacy watchdog, which is suspected of violating European law, specifically the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regarding the processing of children’s personal data and the transfer of data to China .

TikTok acknowledged in November that some of its employees in China may have gained access to European user data, and in December that its employees used data to spy on journalists. But the company that manages the platform categorically denies that there is any access and any control by the Chinese government on this data.