TikTok denies Chinese state collusion after UK government bans social media app use on devices
Chinese-owned company TikTok has said it is “disappointed” by the government’s decision to ban the social media app on MPs’ phones.
The social media video app has been at the centre of security and data protection concerns in recent weeks – with Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden announcing the decision in parliament yesterday.
Speaking yesterday he told MPs that it’s clear there “could be a risk” around how sensitive government data is accessed and used by certain platforms.
He added: “Social media apps collect and store huge amounts of user data, including contacts, user content, and geolocation data.”
The Cabinet Office said the ban was being imposed because TikTok users are required to hand over data including contacts, user content, and geolocation data.
It follows moves by the European Commission (EC) and the United States to take action over the app’s use on secure devices.
TikTok has long said it does not share data with China but the country’s intelligence legislation requires firms to help the Communist Party when requested. Critics fear the policy could expose Western data to Beijing.
A spokesman said: “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.
“We remain committed to working with the government to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors.”
Additionally, a Chinese embassy spokesperson accused the government of acting “based on its political motive rather than facts”.
The embassy spokesperson said that the ban “disrupts the normal operations of the relevant company in the UK, undermines the confidence of the international community in the UK’s business environment, and will ultimately harm the UK’s own interests”.
“We urge the UK side to respect facts, abide by the rules of market economy and the principle of fair competition, refrain from overstretching and abusing the concept of national security, and provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries,” the spokesperson said.