Dutch Government Follows Global Trend, Orders TikTok Removal from Officials’ Phones

KEY TAKEAWAYS
The Netherlands has instructed government officials to remove TikTok from their phones, joining a growing list of countries concerned about the app's potential security risks.
Multiple countries, such as the United States, Canada, Denmark, and India, have taken steps to limit or ban TikTok due to its ties to ByteDance and possible access to user data by the Chinese government.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, scheduled to testify before the US Congress, claims that the company has never shared US user data with the Chinese government and that ByteDance is not controlled by any government or state entity.
China accuses the US of spreading disinformation and suppressing TikTok, while the US has not presented concrete evidence that TikTok poses a threat to its national security.
The Biden administration is pursuing a more organized and bipartisan strategy to address TikTok concerns, supporting legislation that would give the Commerce Department clearer power to ban the app, potentially forcing a sale.

 

The Netherlands has joined a growing list of countries raising concerns about the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, instructing government officials to remove the app from their phones.

With over one billion active users in 150 countries, TikTok has become a controversial subject due to alleged security risks tied to its parent company, ByteDance, and the potential for user data to be accessed by the Chinese government.

Worldwide Restrictions on TikTok

Various countries, including the United States, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, India, Taiwan, and some European Union institutions, have taken steps to limit or ban TikTok.

Most recently, Jordan banned the app in December 2022, citing its failure to remove posts inciting violence and chaos during protests.

In the US, the White House gave federal agencies a month to remove the app from government-owned devices in February, and the Biden administration is currently supporting a bipartisan bill to potentially ban TikTok.

TikTok CEO Testifies Before Congress

TikTok’s Chief Executive, Shou Zi Chew, is scheduled to testify before the US Congress on Thursday.

He has already stated that the company has never and will never share US user data with the Chinese government, emphasizing that ByteDance is not controlled by any government or state entity.

TikTok has also expressed disappointment with the White House’s decision to back the Senate bill seeking to ban the app, arguing that it would effectively ban the export of American culture and values to over a billion people who use the service worldwide.

TikTok has also expressed disappointment with the White House’s decision to back the Senate bill seeking to ban the app, arguing that it would effectively ban the export of American culture and values to over a billion people who use the service worldwide.

 

China Accuses the US of Suppression

China has accused the US of spreading disinformation and suppressing TikTok.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin has stated that the US has yet to present evidence that TikTok threatens its national security and that data security issues should not be used as a tool for countries to abuse state power and suppress foreign enterprises.

Biden Administration’s Strategy

The Biden administration is pursuing a better organized, vetted by lawyers, and more bipartisan strategy to address TikTok concerns compared to the Trump administration’s efforts.

Although the threat from TikTok is mostly theoretical at this point, 30 states have banned the app from official government or contractor phones, and federal employees are being made to remove it as well.

The administration is publicly supporting legislation that would give the Commerce Department clearer power to ban the app, potentially restoring the government’s leverage over ByteDance.

If the legislation passes, it would significantly strengthen the administration’s hand in forcing a sale.

Craig Miller

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