Dutch Government Tells Workers to Stay Off Chinese Platform TikTok

POLAND - 2023/01/20: In this photo illustration a TikTok logo seen displayed on a smartpho
Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Dutch government has reportedly told public authorities to refrain from using Chinese social media platform TikTok over data security fears.

Authorities in the Netherlands have been told that they should stay away from TikTok — a major social media site with links to the Chinese government — for fear that user data on the platform may be compromised.

It comes shortly after Republican Senator Josh Hawley unveiled a bill that would see TikTok effectively banned in the United States, as well as heavily restrict the commercial activity of the platform’s Chinese owner, ByteDance.

Though Dutch authorities are not taking anywhere near as hardline a view as Senator Hawley, according to a report by POLITICO, the country’s government has instructed all of its individual ministries to stop using the platform for government businesses.

The publication says that ministries in the country have been told to “suspend the use of TikTok for the government until TikTok has adjusted its data protection policy”, with workers being told to shun the use of TikTok accounts, as well as cease government advertising and correspondence on the platform.

Such an order is apparently not as restrictive as a recent U.S. measure banning TikTok from government devices, however, with the Netherlands reportedly stopping short of ordering its public workforce to delete the app from their phones.

The government ban in the Netherlands appears to be part of a growing trend of deChinafication within Western tech spheres.

For example, the EU’s internal markets commissioner, Thierry Breton only recently threatened to see the platform banned from the entirety of the European Union.

However, compared to the likes of the UK and U.S. which have expressed major concerns over the data of individual users, Breton reportedly threatened that such a ban could be put in place should the Chinese platform refuse to censor content that the EU does not like.

“We will not hesitate to adopt the full scope of sanctions to protect our citizens if audits do not show full compliance,” the Commissioner threatened, making reference to the idea that TikTok, being popular with “younger audiences”, must take “greater responsibility” when it comes to content censorship.

Despite Breton’s demands being unlikely to strike a chord with many of the EU’s allies in the likes of the United States, Breton’s concerns over how TikTok controls the content put on its platform does seem to have some legitimacy, with it recently being revealed that senior figures within the company’s owner can largely decide what goes viral.

According to a report last week, the CCP-linked platform would “promote some videos to help diversify the content experience”, though insiders reportedly claim that such an artificial manipulation of the platform’s algorithm does not happen frequently.

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