Dutch businesses also banning TikTok over security risks

Companies and organizations are following the government’s lead and tightening their rules for using social media due to safety risks. Many have banned TikTok and are looking at other social media, even though they are of great value when it comes to mass communication with customers, Financieele Dagblad reports.

Research agency TNO and law firms like Nauta, Houthoff, and Pels Rijkcen banned TikTok a few months ago. Pels Rijcken did so due to their role as the national lawyer. “We have very sensitive information, where security is paramount,” a spokesperson told FD. ASML employees also can’t visit TikTok from their laptops.

The government banned its officials from installing TikTok on their work phones in March. It is also in talks with Facebook and Instagram owner Meta, demanding proof that it will better protect citizens’ privacy on Facebook pages. If the American company fails to do so, the government may ban the platforms because they don’t comply with the privacy law.

TNO is currently investigating the privacy risks of its Facebook page. “When the government stops using Facebook, TNO will most likely follow,” a spokesperson said.

Law firm Stibbe hasn’t banned apps but monitors their risk very carefully. The law firm points to the importance of communication. “Professional use of social media offers opportunities to profile ourselves, to be in contact with our business network and potential employees,” Stibbe told FD.

ING has the same policy, adding that social media are “a good way to attract young people.” Dutch rail company NS recognizes the risks but called recruiting technical staff via TikTok a “dire necessity” due to staff shortages.

Companies are limiting their employees’ use of social media due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If an app does not meet the privacy requirements, you as an organization can’t use it, Lokke Moerel, professor of technology and law at Tilburg University, explained to FD. The general accountability included in the GDPR obliges companies to handle the data entrusted to them with due care. “If you then knowingly use a platform that violates the law and profit from it, there may come a time when you yourself have to give legal accountability. Quite apart from any reputational damage.”

On Friday, the European Union implements a new law that puts social media platforms with at least 45 million EU users under tighter scrutiny and forces them to be more transparent. That includes Facebook and TikTok. “As a company, you have to take the risks seriously,” said Moerel.

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