West News Wire: Because of concerns over inadequate data security safeguards, France stated Friday that it is prohibiting the “recreational” use of TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and other apps on the phones of government employees.

Due to concerns over TikTok’s ties to China, similar limitations have been placed on the popular video-sharing app in democratic nations. However, the French ruling also applied to other platforms that are often used by politicians, government employees, and President Emmanuel Macron.

‘Recreational’ applications aren’t secure enough to be used in state administrative services, according to a statement from Stanislas Guerini, France’s Minister for Transformation and Public Administration, and they ‘may create a risk for the protection of data.

The ban will be monitored by France’s cybersecurity agency. The statement did not specify which apps are banned but noted that the decision came after other governments took measures targeting TikTok.

Guerini’s office said in a message to The Associated Press that the ban also will include Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, gaming apps like Candy Crush and dating apps.

Exceptions will be allowed. If an official wants to use a banned app for professional purposes, like public communication, they can request permission to do so.

Case in point: Guerini posted the announcement of the ban on Twitter.

The U.S., Britain, the European Union and others have banned TikTok on government phones. Western governments worry Chinese authorities could force TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance Ltd., to hand over data on international users or push pro-Beijing narratives.

The company’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, pushed back on assertions that TikTok or ByteDance are tools of the Chinese government during questioning by U.S. lawmakers Thursday. The company has been reiterating that 60% of ByteDance is owned by global institutional investors.

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A law China implemented in 2017 requires companies to give the government any personal data relevant to the country’s national security. There’s no evidence that TikTok has turned over such data, but fears abound due to the vast amount of user data it collects.


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