How worried should you be about TikTok? Everything you need to know as the UK Government BANS app

Chinese language-owned social media app TikTok has been banned on Authorities telephones and different gadgets on safety grounds.

The restriction is available in response to considerations that customers’ delicate knowledge may very well be accessed by the authorities in Beijing from the agency’s proprietor ByteDance, which has its headquarters in China.

Talking within the Commons, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden introduced that the favored video app can be banned with quick impact.

He described it as a ‘precautionary’ however ‘prudent’ transfer, including: ‘The safety of delicate authorities data should come first’.

Right here is every thing it is advisable know concerning the ban.

Chinese language-owned social media app TikTok has been banned on Authorities telephones and different gadgets on safety grounds (inventory picture)

Who does the ban apply to?

TikTok has been banned on telephones and different gadgets utilized by Authorities ministers and civil servants.

However regardless of calls for from Tory backbenchers, the UK Authorities stopped in need of forcing ministers and civil servants from deleting the app from their private gadgets.


TikTok is a Chinese language social media app the place customers can reside stream and create brief movies. 

Its tagline is ‘Make each second depend’.

The app was probably the most downloaded within the US in 2018 and the world’s fourth most downloaded in 2018, forward of Instagram and Snapchat.

TikTok is thought as Douyin in China, the place it was launched in 2016, earlier than being made extra broadly obtainable all over the world in 2017.   

It provides customers a raft of vibrant modification and enhancing instruments together with overlaying music, sound, animated stickers, filters and augmented actuality (AR) for creating brief movies. 

The Beijing-based social community has been downloaded nearly 4billion occasions and proprietor ByteDance is now stated to be price greater than $75billion (£58billion).  

In 2020 Donald Trump referred to as for the US arm of TikTok to be offered to an American firm over fears the app posed a nationwide safety danger. 

Parliament’s TikTok account was shut down final 12 months after MPs raised considerations concerning the agency’s hyperlinks to China, whereas the official Downing Road TikTok web page has not been up to date because the summer time.

Why has TikTok been barred from UK Authorities telephones?

Safety specialists in Britain have grown more and more involved concerning the data-mining algorithms utilized by TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance.

The corporate has beforehand admitted that some employees in China can entry the info of European customers.

US officers have raised considerations that the Chinese language authorities might stress ByteDance at hand over customers’ private data, which may then be exploited for intelligence or disinformation functions.

However China’s International Ministry accused Washington of ‘generalising the idea of nationwide safety’ and ‘unreasonably suppressing enterprises of different nations’. 

Former Tory chief Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who has referred to as for a extra sturdy angle in direction of Beijing, welcomed the choice to ban TikTok on Authorities telephones. 

However he instructed MailOnline the ban ought to have been prolonged to the non-public gadgets of ministers and senior civil servants to work successfully. 

‘Whereas they’re ministers they need to be denied entry. If it’s a safety danger on the federal government telephones it’s a safety danger on their telephones,’ he stated.

‘The concept they do nothing with the Authorities aside from on their safe telephones – I am sorry, that’s not true. This app shouldn’t be on their private telephones.’

What has the response been?

Banning the app on Authorities telephones was a ‘cheap’ response as a result of nationwide safety considerations for politicians and UK authorities staff in relation to TikTok are ‘important’, based on IT professionals.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, stated this was extra the priority than for odd customers, whose knowledge the physique stated was ‘most likely secure’.

Rashik Parmar, BCS’ group chief govt, stated: ‘It’s cheap to count on that social media linked to a non-allied state shouldn’t be on the gadgets of Authorities officers. 

‘Constructing public belief in expertise is important right now, when the apps we use each day are so carefully linked to geo-politics.’

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden announced the move in the Commons in a statement this afternoon

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden introduced the transfer within the Commons in a press release this afternoon

Nigel Jones, co-founder of the Privateness Compliance Hub, added: ‘TikTok, like many different apps in every day use, collects important quantities of our private knowledge but it surely’s definitely not distinctive in that. 

‘What makes TikTok totally different within the eyes of these nations which have banned its use on authorities gadgets, is the very fact it’s Chinese language. 

‘The worry right here is twofold: will the Chinese language authorities acquire entry to the info TikTok shops on us; and can it make use of TikTok as a supply of disinformation? 

‘Nevertheless, it will be helpful for the thousands and thousands of us who’re utilizing TikTok to be instructed extra concerning the causes behind these bans so we will resolve for ourselves whether or not we must always delete the app too.’

Office options professional Adam Butler, the CEO at Officeology, believes the UK ought to go a step additional and ban TikTok on all work gadgets.

He stated: ‘The announcement that the Authorities will probably be banning TikTok from work telephones is one thing I consider all workplaces ought to take onboard.

‘There was a lot hypothesis round person knowledge from the platform being simply accessed and shared, which poses threats to knowledge and safety breaches.

‘Though TikTok strongly denies this, it’s an space that we don’t totally perceive and the implications may very well be detrimental to a enterprise.’

What has TikTok stated?

TikTok stated it was ‘disillusioned’ by the ban and added that the transfer was ‘based mostly on elementary misconceptions and pushed by wider geopolitics, wherein TikTok and our thousands and thousands of customers within the UK, play no half’.

TikTok UK has declined to comment ahead of this afternoon's statement in the Commons

TikTok UK has declined to remark forward of this afternoon’s assertion within the Commons

‘We have now begun implementing a complete plan to additional shield our European person knowledge, which incorporates storing UK person knowledge in our European knowledge centres and tightening knowledge entry controls, together with third-party unbiased oversight of our strategy,’ the corporate added.

It fiercely denied allegations that it fingers customers’ knowledge to the Chinese language authorities.

Which different nations have banned it?

The choice follows comparable strikes by the US, the EU and Canada to cease officers utilizing the app on their work gadgets, and comes after the Authorities declared that China ‘poses an epoch-defining problem’. 

Final month the European Fee determined to droop using TikTok on gadgets issued to employees and even private telephones if they’ve official apps put in, following the US’s ban final 12 months on federal staff utilizing the app on work gadgets.

Former President Donald Trump additionally tried to herald restictions.

His proposed ban, which confronted a collection of authorized challenges and by no means got here into drive, was revoked by his successor within the White Home, Joe Biden. 

The Indian authorities has additionally barred Chinese language-owned apps from the nation.

May TikTok be made unlawful for each UK person? 

Britain’s safety minister has refused to rule out making TikTok unlawful within the UK.

Tom Tugendhat stated on Tuesday he was ready on a evaluate from the Nationwide Cyber Safety Centre earlier than deciding on the ‘massively necessary query’. 

Keeping a watchful eye: Britain's security minister Tom Tugendhat said he was waiting on a review from the National Cyber Security Centre before deciding on whether to ban TikTok for all UK users

Holding a watchful eye: Britain’s safety minister Tom Tugendhat stated he was ready on a evaluate from the Nationwide Cyber Safety Centre earlier than deciding on whether or not to ban TikTok for all UK customers

He was requested if he would go additional than barring it on authorities telephones, by ordering a whole ban on the app.

‘I haven’t got it, and the prime minister requested me to defend the main democracy taskforce a short time in the past, and as a part of that we’re trying on the numerous threats to parliamentarians but additionally to journalists,’ he instructed Occasions Radio. 

‘Wanting on the numerous totally different apps individuals have on their telephones and the implications for them is a massively necessary query and I’ve requested the Nationwide Cyber Safety Centre to look into this.’

When pressed on whether or not this meant there may very well be a full ban on the app, Mr Tugendhat added: ‘It is going to be addressed with the challenges we face, with the threats we face. 

‘I am not going to present you a solution till I do know what the dangers are.’