All Belgian governments ban use of TikTok on staff devices

All Belgian governments ban use of TikTok on staff devices
Credit: Belga

All of Belgium's Governments will now ban the use of the Chinese social media app TikTok on staff members' computers and mobile phones.

The European Commission last month told staff to delete the app from all work phones, while the Flemish Government blocked access to the app, effective immediately, on Thursday.

Various investigations by security services have shown that the Chinese app has several security flaws, raising concerns about how the app handles users' personal data and opening the door to possible spying on its users' data.

On Friday, the Federal Government announced it would also be putting a temporary ban on the use of the app.

The country's National Security Council (CCB) stated it would ban ministers, cabinet members and federal civil servants from using the app on their professional devices.

As reasons for the temporary ban, the Federal Government referred to the fact that TikTok’s algorithms allow it to manipulate the flow of information and content, and that, under Chinese law, TikTok is required to cooperate with Chinese intelligence agencies .

The ban will be in place for six months and applies to all devices in which the purchase, subscription or use is (partially or fully) paid for by the Federal Government.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stressed that governments cannot afford to be naive. “We are in a new geopolitical context where influence and spying between States are moving to the digital world. The security of our information takes precedence.”

Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet called the decision a "logical and necessary one."

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In response, the Government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FWB) announced it also planned on banning its use.

FWB's minister-president Pierre-Yves Jeholet said he would ask his government to take measures to ban the TikTok app in line with the measures taken at the Federal level.

"We are in contact with the Prime Minister's office in order to follow the recommendations of the CCB," Jeholet told Belga News Agency.

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