(Reuters) — The European Commission has banned Chinese short video-sharing app TikTok from its employees’ company phones for cybersecurity reasons, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said on Thursday.
It is the first EU institution to do so.
Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok is under scrutiny from governments and regulators over concerns that China’s government could use its app to collect users’ data or advance its interests.
Mr Breton, who announced the move at a press conference in Brussels, declined to say whether the commission had been the subject of any incidents involving TikTok.
In response to the announcement, TikTok said it was disappointed and surprised that the commission had not reached out before the ban was imposed.
The US Senate passed a bill in December that would prevent federal employees from using TikTok on government entities. TikTok is banned in India.
A spokesperson for TikTok said it had not been contacted directly by the commission and offered no explanation for the decision.
“We believe this suspension is misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions. We have contacted the Commission to set the record straight and explain how we protect the data of the 125 million people across the EU who come to TikTok every month,” the spokesperson said.