TikTok: ban threats increasingly weigh on the Chinese application


This is definitely pitching very hard for TikTok, the most dynamic social network in the world. This Chinese application of short videos, particularly popular with young people, is suspected of acting behind the scenes on behalf of Beijing. It is now threatened with being banned in the United States and now, even if to a lesser extent, in Europe.

Read also: What do we blame TikTok for? Soft power, espionage, personal data…

In this context, Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate for the Digital Transition, received, Friday March 10 in Bercy, Erich Andersen, lawyer, general counsel of ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, which is currently touring European political leaders. to plead the cause of his company.

A front is therefore opening up on the European side for the Chinese company. The European Commission and Parliament asked their officials in early March to remove the application from their professional devices. This is also the case of the Danish parliament. On Wednesday March 8, the Czech Cybersecurity Agency warned that the social network represents a ” threat “ for security if installed on devices with access to sensitive data.

“We must not be naive”

Latest decision to date: the Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, announced on Friday March 10 the ban for six months on the use of the TikTok application on function phones provided by the Federal State, advancing a risk of misappropriation of sensitive data for the benefit of China. “We must not be naive: TikTok is a Chinese company that today is forced to cooperate with Chinese intelligence services. It is reality “justified the Flemish liberal leader in a press release.

Read also: TikTok announces the implementation, for minors, of a warning after one hour of use

TikTok presented, on March 8, guarantees to reassure European users, with the installation of data centers in Ireland and Norway – an investment of 1.2 billion euros –, and a partnership with a European player, in order to “creating a secure European enclave”. The company in the hot seat sent Mr. Andersen to tour the capitals – London, Paris, Brussels and The Hague – to convince of its good faith. His meeting with Jean-Noël Barrot was, according to a government source, not such as to completely reassure the French executive, who is worried about the delay in implementing these measures.

In February, the White House ordered all federal officials to remove the app from their work phones.

But it is from North America that the threat is greatest. The first banderillas against TikTok date back to the Trump administration, when the tenant of the White House had taken it into his head in 2020 to force ByteDance to sell the American activities of its social network to a company. “made in USA”. The approach proceeded from the same logic which then led the United States to use all possible springs to break the rise of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, a time world number one in the smartphone market, whose sales have since collapsed. .

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