Public authorities within the Netherlands are being instructed to keep away from TikTok amid rising considerations throughout the EU and U.S. that the Chinese language-owned video-sharing platform poses privateness dangers.
Dutch ministries and companies are principally following a suggestion to shun TikTok accounts and cease authorities communication and promoting on the platform, two authorities officers instructed POLITICO. That is regardless of the app’s skyrocketing reputation within the Netherlands, the place it has round 3.5 million customers.
The Dutch pivot away from TikTok follows recommendation issued by the overall affairs ministry to “suspend the use of TikTok for the government until TikTok has adjusted its data protection policy” announced in November. Whereas the advice resembles a latest U.S. authorities resolution from December to ban using TikTok on authorities units, the Dutch steering is way extra restricted in scope and enforcement.
It is the most recent instance of how TikTok, owned by the Beijing-headquartered ByteDance, is dealing with headwinds in Europe, including to its troubles within the U.S. The agency is already below investigation for sending knowledge on European Union customers to China. One of many video app’s fiercest European critics is French President Emmanuel Macron, who has known as TikTok “deceptively innocent” and a explanation for “real addiction” amongst customers, in addition to a supply of Russian disinformation.
Dutch officers have sought to strengthen ties with Washington in latest months because the U.S. pushes for extra export controls on promoting delicate expertise to China, together with machines made by Dutch chips printing big ASML. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte this month met with U.S. President Joe Biden, the place they mentioned easy methods to “quite frankly, meet the challenges of China,” the U.S. chief told reporters forward of the assembly.
The Dutch coverage on TikTok, which is successfully a pause fairly than a ban, is principally focused at stopping using TikTok for “media” functions, a spokesperson for the overall affairs ministry mentioned, and does not explicitly instruct authorities officers to delete the app from telephones.
The spokesperson mentioned it is laborious to guage how strictly authorities companies have abided by the recommendation because the ministry is not monitoring separate companies’ use of the app. However the two officers mentioned the recommendation had triggered a transparent shift away from the Chinese language-owned app, in step with rising safety considerations throughout the West.
A junior Dutch authorities coalition celebration known as in November for a full ban on the app “in its current form.” Requested by reporters what he considered this proposal, Rutte mentioned this was “the opinion of five seats in the Dutch lower chamber.”
TikTok admitted in early November that a few of its China-based staff may entry European TikTok person knowledge. It additionally got here below intense scrutiny within the U.S. over a report in Forbes magazine in December that staff had accessed knowledge to trace the placement of journalists overlaying TikTok.
This month, TikTok Chief Govt Shou Zi Chew visited Brussels to assuage concerns in meetings with EU commissioners together with Govt Vice President Margrethe Vestager, Vice President for Values Věra Jourová and Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.
“I count on TikTok to fully execute its commitments to go the extra mile in respecting EU law and regaining [the] trust of European regulator,” Jourová mentioned in a warning shot on the firm. There couldn’t be “any doubt that knowledge of customers in Europe are protected and never uncovered to unlawful entry from third-country authorities,” she mentioned.
TikTok did not instantly reply to a request for remark.