British authorities said Thursday that they are banning the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok from government mobile phones on security grounds, following similar moves by the U.S. and European Union.
Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden told Parliament that the ban will apply to work phones and other devices used by government ministers and civil servants. The ban does not apply to personal phones and devices. The U.S. government mandated last month that employees of federal agencies have to delete TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices.
Congress, the White House, U.S. armed forces and more than half of U.S. states had already banned the app. The European Union, Belgium and others have also temporarily banned the app from employee phones.The moves were prompted by growing concerns that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, would give user data such as browsing history and location to the Chinese government, or push propaganda and misinformation on its behalf.
The company has insisted that such concerns are based on “misinformation.”China also accused the United States on Thursday of spreading disinformation and suppressing TikTok following reports that the Biden administration was calling for its Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the popular video-sharing app.
Last year, Britain’s Parliament shut down its TikTok account — meant to reach younger audiences with Parliament content — just days after its launch following concerns from lawmakers.