Home/ News / World/  UK bans TikTok on govt phones amid growing security concerns

The UK banned the use of TikTok on government phones on Thursday, following similar restrictions in the US and Canada. The development came even as the ByteDance-owned company claimed the Biden administration has urged its Chinese owners divest their stakes in the popular app. 

"The security of sensitive government information must come first, so today we are banning this app on government devices. The use of other data-extracting apps will be kept under review," read an official statement from Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden.

The British government has also asked National Cyber Security Centre to look at the potential vulnerability of government data from social media apps. While China insisted that the decision was based on political considerations rather than facts, western nations have become increasingly wary about TikTok usage. In recent months several other nations including the United States, Canada, Belgium and the European Commission have already banned the app from official devices.

Also read: TikTok mulls splitting from ByteDance if proposal with US fails

"We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok, and our millions of users in the UK, play no part," a TikTok spokesperson said, voicing disappointment with the decision. 

The Chinese embassy in London added that the move "interferes with the normal operations of relevant companies in the UK and will ultimately only harm the UK's own interests" 

Parliament government devices would now only be able to access third party apps from a pre-approved list. The ban does not however include the personal devices of government employees or ministers. It comes at a time when an increasing number of lawmakers have turned to Tiktok in a bid to connect with voters.

(With inputs from agencies)


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Updated: 16 Mar 2023, 10:38 PM IST
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