The popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app, TikTok, is facing yet another ban, this time from the Belgium government.
The country’s prime minister, Alexander de Croo, announced on Friday that the app will be temporarily prohibited from devices owned or paid for by Belgium’s federal government for at least six months.
This comes on the heels of similar actions taken by other authorities in Europe and the U.S.
Why is TikTok getting banned?
The reason for the ban is due to worries about cybersecurity, privacy, and misinformation.
According to de Croo, the decision was based on warnings from the state security service and its cybersecurity center, which said that the app could harvest user data and tweak algorithms to manipulate its news feed and content.
They also warned that TikTok could be compelled to carry out spying for Beijing, without being more specific.
In an online statement, de Croo emphasized that the ban was a common-sense decision since TikTok is a Chinese company, and today is obliged to cooperate with the intelligence services.
TikTok’s response to the ban
TikTok responded to the ban, stating that it was “disappointed at this suspension, which is based on basic misinformation about our company.”
The company also said that it is “readily available to meet with officials to address any concerns and set the record straight on misconceptions.”
TikTok’s attempt to distance itself from its Chinese roots
TikTok is owned by China’s ByteDance, which moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020.
The company sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots, saying its parent company is incorporated outside of China and it’s majority owned by global institutional investors.
The European Union and Denmark’s defense ministry have already ordered employees to remove the app from devices used for official business.
Similar bans have been imposed in Canada and the U.S. It is part of a wider global rivalry between China and the U.S. and its Western allies over technological and economic supremacy.
What is the future of TikTok?
The ban on TikTok by Belgium’s government on government phones raises questions about the future of the app.
TikTok has grown in popularity and is used by millions worldwide, including government officials, celebrities, and influencers.
The company has taken measures to ease concerns by storing user data in European data centers, and it’s unclear if this will be enough to change the minds of the authorities.
The geopolitical context has shifted to the digital world, and states are concerned about surveillance and influence.
It remains to be seen if TikTok can overcome these concerns and remain a popular app or if it will fade away like other social media platforms before it.
Why is Belgium banning TikTok from government phones?
The ban is due to concerns over cybersecurity, privacy, and misinformation.
How long will TikTok be prohibited on government phones in Belgium?
The ban will be in place for at least six months.
What is TikTok's response to the ban?
TikTok is "disappointed" and says the ban is based on "basic misinformation" about the company. They have offered to meet with officials to address concerns.
Who owns TikTok?
TikTok is owned by China's ByteDance.
Has TikTok tried to distance itself from its Chinese roots?
Yes, TikTok has moved its headquarters to Singapore and says its parent company is incorporated outside of China.
Have other countries banned TikTok?
Yes, similar bans have been imposed in Canada, the U.S., and in parts of Europe.
Why is there a global rivalry over TikTok?
The rivalry is part of a wider competition between China and the U.S. and its allies over technological and economic supremacy.
What were the warnings that led to Belgium's ban on TikTok?
The state security service and cybersecurity center warned that TikTok could harvest user data, manipulate algorithms, and carry out spying for Beijing.