European Commission president hints at possible TikTok ban in EU

Von der Leyen stated that the Commission had already banned TikTok on its corporate phones and highlighted the perceived danger of the platform.

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The European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen suggested that banning TikTok in the EU could be an option during a debate in Maastricht featuring parties’ lead candidates for the bloc’s 2024 election. Von der Leyen, speaking as the lead candidate of the centre-right European People’s Party, underlined the need to address the dangers associated with TikTok, highlighting the Commission’s proactive stance by banning TikTok on corporate phones.

The remark comes amidst a series of challenges for TikTok in Europe as recently TikTok decided to suspend a feature that rewards users for interacting with the TikTok Lite app following an investigation by the European Commission under the bloc’s Digital Services Act (DSA). Additionally, TikTok faces a separate probe under the DSA for alleged failure to protect minors, with the Commission having the authority to order temporary service suspensions as a last resort.

While von der Leyen expressed a clear stance on TikTok, other candidates at the debate, like Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann of the liberal ALDE party, remained more cautious, indicating a need to observe developments regarding TikTok. Notably, von der Leyen reportedly avoids sanctioning TikTok while campaigning for a second term. Despite requests for comment, TikTok did not respond before the publication date.