United Kingdom Bans TikTok for Officials


The United Kingdom has prohibited British ministers and civil servants from using the Chinese TikTok app on government phones and other devices, explaining this decision to security concerns.

High-rank British MPs are forcing the government to follow the example of the United States and Europe in banning this social media network. Back in December, the United States introduced a similar ban on government-issued devices, and in February the European Commission followed the lead adopting the same decision.

In turn, TikTok officials said these bans were "based on misplaced fears and seemingly driven by wider geopolitics." The company added that it was "disappointed” by the move of the UK authorities.

TikTok claims that no information from its social media is shared by Chinese officials, yet it is known that local companies must provide access and assistance to the Communist Party upon request under the laws of Chinese intelligence.

Against this backdrop, it is unsurprising that the critics have legitimate fears that information about devices used by political leaders and officials could be disclosed to Beijing as prescribed by this policy.

The UK Parliament closed its TikTok account last August. There have been no updates on Downing Street TikTok page since Boris Johnson left office last September. Other officials, including Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, have updated their pages more recently.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology Michelle Donelan, who also has a TikTok account, told MPs that the general public may continue to use the TikTok application as per usual.

She noted that the use of TikTok is a personal choice. However, since the UK has some of the strictest data privacy laws in the world, the UK government is confident that the public will be able to continue using the Chinese social media app.

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