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UK Government Bans Chinese TikTok Social Media App From Official Phones

© AP Photo / Michael DwyerThe TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston.
The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.03.2023
TikTok users hoping to see British cabinet ministers and civil servants miming and dancing to pop songs in their Whitehall offices will be disappointed. Downing Street has banned installing the app on departmental mobile phones.
The British government has banned the Chinese-made social media app TikTok from officially-issued mobile devices. Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden announced the ban "with immediate effect" in Parliament on Thursday.
“This is a proportionate move based on a specific risk with government devices,” Dowden said.
The minister said the ban would not apply to the "personal devices" of government employees or ministers, or to the general public.
"That is because, as I have outlined, this is a proportionate move based on a specific risk with government devices," Dowden insisted.
Dowden's order came just a day after junior Security Minister Tome Tugendhat announced he had asked the National Cyber Security Centre to probe whether the app, developed by Chinese software company ByteDance, posed any security "challenges."
The US and the European Commission — of which Dowden's uncle Baron Christopher Tugendhat was vice-president from 1981 to 1985 — have already taken similar measures against the popular video-sharing app.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the creation of a "national protective security authority" under the auspices of domestic intelligence agency MI5 to 'advise' businesses on whether to buy Chinese technology and or do business with the Asian economic giant.
The UK and the European Union have taken an increasingly hostile approach to Beijing — led by the US — over the past year as Chinese economic growth continues to outpace theirs. Washington has repeatedly provoked China over the breakaway province of Taipei, while both the US and EU have pressed Beijing to join sanctions on its closest partner Russia.
A video surveillance camera made by China's Hikvision is mounted on top of a street near a advertisement poster in Beijing. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.03.2023
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ByteDance said the decision was driven by political motivations that did not concern its users.
"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 spokesperson said, adding that the company remained "committed to working with the government to address any concerns."
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