PARIS — French senators want Chinese video-sharing app TikTok to be banned from staff at strategic companies, according to a 183-page report released Thursday.
“ByteDance and TikTok are dependent on China at all levels: technical, capitalistic, political and legal,” the rapporteur, Senator Claude Malhuret, told the press.
In March, the French Senate launched a commission of inquiry on the popular platform, in order to examine “the use of the social network TikTok, its exploitation of data, its strategy of influence, propaganda and misinformation”.
After weeks of hearings – including with digital minister Jean-Noël Barrot, regulators, TikTok France lobbyists and researchers – lawmakers have drawn up a list of 21 recommendations.
Among them is an extension of the TikTok ban on civil servants’ phones to the staff of so-called life-saving operators. For security reasons, the list of these operators is not public, but includes organizations from the military, energy, finance, transport and water management sectors.
The senators also want more guarantees on the “Clover Project” – the plan to house EU personal data on European soil – as well as on the shareholding of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. While the company didn’t answer questions about intellectual property, its algorithms, ByteDance’s shareholding structure, privacy safeguards, and content moderation, among other things, they argue the government should ban the app. for reasons of national security.
“We feel like there’s a real clash between TikTok’s protests and those of its leaders over transparency and a clearly intended opacity,” Malhuret said.
Océane Herrero contributed to the report.