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UK Bans TikTok On Government Devices

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Due to security concerns, British government officials are not permitted to use the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on their official phones or devices. The British government is concerned that the Chinese government may gain access to private information stored on official phones.

Oliver Dowden, British cabinet minister, said the ban was a “precautionary” measure but would be implemented right away. The public should always “consider each social media platform’s data policies before downloading and using them,” Dowden said, adding that he would not counsel against using TikTok.

Allegations that TikTok provides user data to the Chinese government have been categorically refuted.

According to Theo Bertram, the app’s vice-president for government relations and public policy in Europe, the choice was “more on geopolitics than anything else,” he told the BBC. He continued, “We requested to be judged on the facts, not on the fears that people have.

The Chinese embassy in London said the move was driven by politics “rather than facts” and would “undermine the confidence of the international community in the UK’s business environment”.

Senior lawmakers had pressed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ban the video-sharing app from official government devices, just like the US and the EU had done. However, government agencies, as well as specific ministers, have adopted TikTok as a means of reaching young people with their messages.

With 3.5 billion downloads globally, usage of the app has skyrocketed in recent years. Its success stems from how simple it is to record quick videos with music and entertaining filters, as well as from its algorithm, which is adept at offering up content that users will find interesting.

It is able to do this because it collects a lot of user data, including their age, location, device, and even their typing patterns, and its cookies monitor their online behavior.

US-based social media platforms also do this, but ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok in China, has come under fire for allegedly being influenced by Beijing.

Downing Street announced that it would keep using TikTok to spread the government’s message after posting a TikTok video of Larry the Cat forecasting football outcomes. It stated that there were some instances where the prohibition was not applicable.

Despite the security warnings, some lawmakers are also hesitant to give up their TikTok habit.

Cabinet minister Grant Shapps – a passionate TikTokker – responded to the prohibition by sharing a clip from the movie, Wolf Of Wall Street, in which Leonardo DiCaprio, playing a New York stockbroker, uses a series of slurs and declares: “The show goes on”.

TikTok was banned from official platforms in the US in December, while the EU did the same last month. Likewise measures have been adopted by Canada, Belgium, and India.

On Friday, a similar prohibition on government devices was announced in New Zealand.

In response to claims that the White House wants TikTok’s Chinese owners to sell their shares in the company, China has charged the US of spreading misinformation and suppressing the app. Despite TikTok’s claims to the contrary, Chinese intelligence laws mandate businesses to assist the Communist Party when asked.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are among the Western social media applications that are blocked in China.

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