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Lawmakers in Germany call for TikTok ban to be considered

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Some German MPs on a parliamentary intelligence board think the country should consider a harder stance on TikTok.

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German politicians are discussing whether they need to harden their stance on TikTok, a Chinese-owned social media app for short social media videos.

It comes a few days after the US House of Representatives voted unanimously in favour of legislation that could force ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, to sell the app or face a complete ban from app stores in the United States.

The bill still needs to be examined by the US Senate before it becomes law.

Multiple members of a German parliamentary board that monitors intelligence services have spoken recently about the topic.

Roderich Kiesewetter, vice chairman of the Bundestag’s intelligence control committee and member of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told German daily the Handelsblatt that the country should consider a “general ban on TikTok” if stricter regulation of the platform can’t be “implemented efficiently”.

Some politicians in Germany consider the app “a danger to our democracy,” Kiesewetter continued, because it is an “important instrument” in China and Russia’s hybrid warfare.

There are roughly 19 million users of TikTok in Germany, according to a 2023 government response tabled in the Bundestag.

Regulation instead of an outright ban

Jens Zimmerman, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, said, according to German broadcaster BR, that the government should consider at least banning the app on federal devices. This is the case for the EU institutions, for instance.

Others, like Ralf Stegner from Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Konstantin von Notz, the deputy leader of Germany’s Green Party, said they would like to see how regulations will work instead of a full-out ban which can be hard to enforce.

By regulatory efforts, Stegner and von Notz are referring to the Digital Services Act (DSA).

The act, which came into effect this year, requires Internet companies to take consistent action to make sure disinformation and illegal content are not being spread on their platforms.

In February, the European Commission announced an investigation into TikTok under the DSA for breaches related to “the protection of minors, advertising transparency, data access as well as risk management of addictive design”.

The Commission told Euronews Next in a statement that they have no comment about the ongoing TikTok ban bill in the United States, nor on talks in Germany.

A Commission spokesperson said that decisions on IT security measures “lie with the relevant national authority”.

The statement added that the DSA can as a last resort put in place a temporary “suspension or restriction of access of recipients to the service,” if they don’t comply with the legislation.

The suspension of TikTok on corporate devices is still in place, the Commission added.

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