Britain announced on Thursday that it would prohibit TikTok from being used on government phones with immediate effect, joining other Western countries that have banned the Chinese-owned video app due to security concerns.
TikTok has come under fire due to concerns that user data from the app, which is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, undermining Western security interests.
The National Cyber Security Centre in the United Kingdom is considering whether TikTok should be blocked on government phones, while the app has already been banned in the United States, Canada, Belgium, and the European Commission.
Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden told parliament that government devices would only be able to access third-party apps from a pre-approved list.
“We are also going to ban the use of TikTok on government devices, we will do so with immediate effect,” he said.
The ban does not include personal devices, and there would be limited exemptions where TikTok is required on government devices for operational reasons, Dowden added.
“This is a proportionate move based on specific risks with government devices.”