International Desk: UK ministers have been banned from using Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on official phones and devices. The British government announced this decision on Thursday (March 16) citing security reasons. On the other hand, the Washington-Beijing conflict has become more pronounced after the US pressure on the Chinese company to sell TikTok. This information was reported by the British media BBC on Friday (March 17). The report said that British government ministers have been banned from using the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on official phones and devices for security reasons. The British government fears that sensitive data on government phones could be leaked to the Chinese government through the TikTok app.
UK Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden said the ban on the TikTok app was taken as a "precautionary" measure and would take effect immediately. However, TikTok has strongly denied allegations of handing over users' data to the Chinese government. Theo Bertram, vice-president of government relations and public policy at TikTok in Europe, told the BBC that they believed the decision was based on geopolitics above anything else. He said, 'We have asked to consider everything based on reality, not on the basis of people's fears.' Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in London said the British government's move was not "based on facts" but motivated by politics. At the same time, the Chinese embassy said the decision would "undermine the international community's confidence in the UK's business environment". Cabinet minister Oliver Dowden said he would not advise the public against using TikTok. But they should always "consider each social media platform's data policies before using it". The BBC says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was under pressure from senior MPs to follow the US and EU in banning video-sharing app TikTok from government phones and devices.
But government departments and individual ministers in Britain have also adopted TikTok as a way to get their message across to young people. Meanwhile, the Sino-US conflict has intensified after the US pressured the Chinese company to sell TikTok. The US last Wednesday gave the video-sharing app an ultimatum to divest from the Chinese company's ownership or face a national ban in the US. China responded strongly on Thursday. Beijing says that the United States should stop trying to "unreasonably stifle" TikTok. Notably, TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. In the last few years, it has become a very popular video sharing app all over the world. The Chinese app has been downloaded 3.5 billion times worldwide in recent years. But the US and the European Union have come down hard against the app in recent years, citing security concerns. These countries say Chinese officials could misuse the data collected through the app.
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