Do you enjoy relaxing on your lunch break by checking TikTok, Twitter, or Instagram? Maybe you like munching down on a sandwich while laughing at funny cat videos. Well, if you’re a government worker in France, the ability to take a break while browsing certain apps is over. On Friday, March 24th, the country announced it is banning the use of TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and other apps it deems to be “recreational” on government employees’ phones due to concerns about poor data security measures.
Like other countries, France is worried about TikTok’s connections to China. The app is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. That’s where the motivation to ban these recreational apps comes from. When messaged by The Associated Press, France’s Minister of Transformation and Public Administration, Stanislas Guerini, said the restriction will also include Netflix, Candy Crush, and various dating apps.
Additionally, the country will ban other platforms regularly used by government employees, lawmakers, and President Emmanuel Macron. However, exceptions will be allowed, and employees will be able to request permission to use these apps for professional purposes. It’ll be interesting to see how the ban of these platforms affects official business. France’s cybersecurity agency will be monitoring the ban.
As mentioned above, France is not the only one that has banned certain apps from government workers’ phones. The United States, Britain, the European Union, and others have also. This comes after China enacted a law in 2017 that requires companies to hand over any personal data relevant to the country’s national security. Western countries are concerned not only about TikTok collecting user data, but also by the possibility of China using the app for espionage purposes, as well as influencing users through the algorithm.
Recently, Congress held a hearing on TikTok. Shou Chew, TikTok’s chief executive officer, testified in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, March, 23rd. It remains to be seen if this hearing will influence even more action across the world.