Sweden's Defense Ministry has reportedly barred employees from using the Chinese-owned app on their work phones
Sweden's military has reportedly cracked down on TikTok, decreeing that staff members are no longer allowed to use the Chinese-owned video-sharing application on their devices at work because of security concerns.
The Swedish Defense Ministry on Monday issued its decision, which was viewed by Agence-France Presse, banning the use of TikTok. Security concerns were raised based on "the reporting that has emerged through open sources regarding how the app handles user information and the actions of the owner company, ByteDance," the ministry said.
The move follows similar restrictions imposed by other EU countries in recent weeks. For example, France banned government employees from downloading "recreational applications," including TikTok, on their work phones. Norway barred use of the app on devices that can access its parliament's computer network, while the UK and Belgium banned it on all government phones. Denmark's Defense Ministry and Latvia's Foreign Ministry imposed their TikTok bans earlier this month.
"Using mobile phones and tablets can in itself be a security risk, so therefore we don't want TikTok on our work equipment," Swedish Defense Ministry press secretary Guna Graufeldt told AFP.
The US, Canada and New Zealand previously banned their federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices, citing fears of ByteDance's ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Members of Congress may try to ban the app from the US market altogether after testimony at a congressional hearing last week by TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew failed to ease their security concerns. "They've actually united Republicans and Democrats out of the concern of allowing the CCP to control the most dominant media platform in America," US Representative Mike Gallagher said on Sunday in an ABC News interview.
Chinese officials have denied claims that TikTok is used to collect the personal data of its American users. "The Chinese government has never asked and will never ask any company or individual to collect or provide data, information or intelligence located abroad against local laws," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told reporters last week. She added that Washington has attacked TikTok without providing any evidence that it threatens US security.