Von der Leyen says EU ban on TikTok ‘not ruled out’

Last week, US President Joe Biden signed a law requiring that the platform’s Chinese owner sell it or be barred from app stores.

The EU has not ruled out banning Chinese-owned TikTok, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has stated. The official, who is seeking another term in June, claimed that the video hosting platform poses a threat, without elaborating.
Last Wednesday, US President Joe Biden signed a law requiring that TikTok’s Chinese-based owner, ByteDance, sell the platform or be barred from app stores. Over the past few years, leaders in both the US and EU have made numerous claims regarding supposed security breaches and violations on the part of TikTok, which has staunchly denied the allegations.
Asked during a debate in the Netherlands on Monday whether the EU would ban TikTok if the US goes ahead with the measure, von der Leyen said: “It is not excluded because the commission was the very first institution worldwide to ban Tik Tok on our corporate telephones.”
“We know exactly the danger of Tik Tok,” she added, noting that the commission has “done a lot to regulate… to make sure that the platforms take responsibility for the content they provide.”

In a statement last Monday, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said, “We suspect TikTok ‘Lite’ could be as toxic and addictive as cigarettes ‘light.’”
The EU’s executive body opened a case against ByteDance over its TikTok Lite application. According to Brussels, the company had failed to submit a mandatory risk assessment report.ByteDance was given until May 3 to provide all the information requested, with a fine totaling 1% of the company’s annual income in case of noncompliance. In February, the commission initiated another probe with regard to the protection of minors, advertising transparency, “data access for researchers,” and “risk management of addictive design and harmful content.”
Commenting on the US legislation last week, TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, Michael Beckerman, denounced the bill signed by Biden as a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of expression.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew released a statement saying: “Make no mistake, this is a ban. A ban on TikTok, a ban on you, and a ban on your voice… Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere. We are confident that we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts. The facts and the Constitution are on our side, and we expect to prevail.”