EU Commission bans TikTok on civil servants’ phones Will Britain follow?

Luke Evans, Matt Hancock and Zarah Sultana

Luke Evans, Matt Hancock and Zarah Sultana

Numerous MPs have used TikTok to reach the public through scathing video clips.

There you’ll find Matt Hancock spinning pancakes, Labor MP Zarah Sultana campaigning for free school meals and Nadine Dorries driving a self-driving car.

Some eyebrows were raised via a recent Tory MP Dr. Pulled up Luke Evans shared TikTok video filming himself navigating the Downing Street entrance.

The social media site allows MPs to engage directly with voters, particularly younger people, who have flocked to the app.

Last week, Energy Secretary Grant Shapps praised TikTok, calling it “social media on crack.”

However, some of his peers disagree on its merits and are calling for government officials to be banned from using the app.

Why did the EU ban TikTok?

European Commission staff have been ordered to remove the TikTok app from their phones and corporate devices.

The commission said it was implementing the measure to “protect data and increase cybersecurity”.

EU spokeswoman Sonya Gospodinova said the EU executive made the decision for security reasons.

“The measure aims to protect the Commission from cybersecurity threats and measures that can be exploited for cyberattacks on the business environment of the Commission,” she said.

The ban also means that EU Commission employees cannot use TikTok on personal devices that have official apps installed.

What’s bad about TikTok?

Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok has faced allegations that it collects and shares user data with the Chinese government. TikTok insists it operates no differently than other social media companies.

However, last year TikTok admitted that some employees in China can access European users’ data.

The US government banned TikTok on federally-issued devices last year due to national security concerns. They fear the Chinese government could use TikTok to access US user data.

The UK Parliament’s TikTok account was also shut down last year after MPs raised concerns about the company’s ties to China.

What do British politicians say?

Alicia Kearns, the chair of the Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs, is leading the call for the UK government to ban officials from using TikTok.

“We have now seen that both the EU and the US have taken action against TikTok over security concerns: the acquisition of our personal information by a hostile state,” she told the Telegraph.

“The government needs to review its policies and try to ban government officials and parliament workers from installing the app on all cell phones used for work, if not any device.”

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith also claims that TikTok poses a “security threat” due to its ties to China.

He described the platform as a “data collector” that Chinese security services could access to “compromise” users in the future.

What is the Downing Street view?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has so far resisted calls to ban government officials from using TikTok.

A No 10 spokesman said he was aware of “no awareness” of a ban on Downing Street staff using TikTok.

“We have a TikTok account, but I don’t think we’ve put anything on it for a while,” he said.

“It’s up to individual departments and ministers to decide which social media platforms to use.”


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