Britain said on Thursday it would ban TikTok on government phones with immediate effect, a move to follow other Western countries who have barred the Chinese-owned video app over security concerns.
TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny due to fears that user data from the app owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, undermining Western security interests.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre has been reviewing whether TikTok should be barred from government phones, while the United States, Canada, Belgium and the European Commission have already banned the app.
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 risk with government devices.”
Earlier, when the prospect of such a ban was reported, TikTok said it would be disappointed by such a ban.