Norway’s justice minister, whose active TikTok use has previously landed her in hot water, on Tuesday recommended that government employees refrain from using the Chinese app on their work devices.
The recommendation, which follows similar moves and bans in a number of Western countries, was based on espionage fears and also applies to the encrypted Russian messaging app Telegram.
“In their risk assessments … the Norwegian intelligence services single out Russia and China as the main risk factors for Norway’s security interests,” Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said in a statement.
“They also single out social media as a forum favoured by potentially dangerous actors and others who want to influence us with disinformation and fake news,” she said.
The recommendation applies to all work devices used by government officials and which are connected to the government’s digital systems.
The youngest member of the government, 29-year-old Mehl found herself at the centre of a media frenzy last year after she admitted, after a long silence amid suspicions about the app, that she had installed TikTok on her work phone.
She stressed she had deleted it a month later.
She said she had used it because she needed to reach a young audience — the main users of the app.
Government employees can still use TikTok and Telegram if necessary for professional reasons, but on devices that not are not connected to the government’s digital systems, the ministry said.
Governments in Britain, the United States and the European Commission have banned TikTok on work devices.
TikTok acknowledged in November that some employees in China could access European user data and admitted in December that employees had used the data to spy on journalists.
The group has however insisted that the Chinese government has no control over or access to its data.