The United Kingdom announced this Thursday, March 16, the immediate ban of TikTok on government devices, for security reasons.
“We are going to ban the use of TikTok on government devices” with “immediate effect,” Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, whose portfolio includes cybersecurity issues, told Parliament.
ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, has been accused of handing over user data to the Chinese government, despite the fact that the brand has flatly denied it. Earlier this week, UK security minister Tom Tugendhat asked the country’s National Cyber Security Center to look into banning the app on government phones.
Now the United Kingdom becomes the new country to join the ban, which Belgium, the United States and the European Commission decided to carry out on the popular application.
On the other hand, the United States Government has required ByteDance to distribute its shares if it wants to continue operating in its territory. Subsequently, TikTok confirmed to AFP that the US government did recommend separating from its owner, the Chinese group ByteDance, to not be banned in the United States, as pressure mounts against the popular platform and irritation from Beijing.
“If the goal is to protect national security, calling for a ban or alienation is unnecessary, as neither option solves the industry’s problems of access and transfer of data,” a TikTok spokesperson said Wednesday, contacted by AFP.
“We remain confident that the best way to address national security concerns is data protection and US-based user systems, with robust monitoring, investigation, and third-party verification,” the spokesperson added.
According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other media, the White House issued an ultimatum: if TikTok remains owned by ByteDance, it will be banned in the United States.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday urged the United States to “stop unjustified attacks” against the platform and denounced a business environment that discriminates against foreign groups.
“LData security issues should not be used as a tool for some countries to broaden the concept of national security, abuse state power and unreasonably suppress companies from other countries,” said his spokesman Wang Wenbin.
“The United States has not yet provided any evidence that TikTok threatens the national security of the United States,” it added.
The platform is perceived as a danger to national security by several congressmen They accuse her of giving Beijing access to user data from around the world, something TikTok denies.
Parliamentary efforts to veto the app resurfaced after the February shooting down by the United States of a Chinese balloon, accused of being a spy device.
He White House request comes from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government agency in charge of assessing the risks of all foreign investment to national security.
TikTok has gone to great lengths to reassure politicians and the public about its integrity. and was counting on finding a compromise with the federal agency CFIUS.
“The fastest and most effective way to address these concerns…is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we’ve been working on with them for close to two years,” a spokesperson for the TikTok app said at the end of January. February.
However, the White House last week celebrated a bill passed by the US Senate with bipartisan support that would give President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok completely.
The White House has already prohibited officials from federal agencies from having the application on their devices, through a law ratified in early January.
The European Commission and the Canadian government recently made similar decisions for the mobile phones of their officials.
In recent years, the application has surpassed YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in “time spent” by American adults on each of these platforms and close on the heels of Netflix, according to Insider Intelligence.
*With information from Europa Press and AFP