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TikTok banned on Government phones with immediate effect


The China-based social media app, TikTok, will be banned on government mobile devices.

Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden made the statement to MPs earlier today. He said that as part of the strengthening of security, government phones would only be able to install third party apps which were on a “pre-approved list.”

This already existed in some departments, but would now be implemented across the government.

He said TikTok would be banned “with immediate effect” but that it was a precautionary move and was “good cyber hygiene.” The ban applies to “government corporate devices within ministerial and non-ministerial departments” but would not be extended to personal devices for government employees or ministers.

In December last year, the US banned the app from all official devices and the European Commission followed suit.

Other governments banning the app include Belgium, India and Canada.

TikTok has always strongly denied that it hands users’ data to the Chinese government and has instead said the decisions have been based on “wider geopolitics” and were “misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions.”

Chinese laws require firms to “help the Communist Party” when requested.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which launched the app in 2017, initially in Southeast Asia. It then acquired which was later merged into the platform.

Michelle Donelan, the Science and Technology Secretary said it wouldn’t be totally banned in the UK:

“In terms of the general public, it is absolutely a personal choice. But because we have the strongest data protection laws in the world, we are confident that the public can continue to use it.”

Influencer agencies have reacted to today’s news including Thomas Walters, Europe CEO and co-founder of influencer agency Billion Dollar Boy

“Today’s decision to ban TikTok from UK government phones isn’t unexpected as it follows a precedent set by other Western countries. However, the move could have a more surprising ripple effect for consumers and brands as unease over the platform’s future grows. This ban could significantly shake up the social media landscape in the UK.

“TikTok is one of the most popular platforms in the country, with approximately 9 million users in the UK. It’s a hub for creativity, with its spontaneous, raw, low production, unfiltered content formats enabling consumers and brands to express themselves. Its algorithm is also effective in promoting the most popular content, regardless of follower size, making it easier for creators and brands to spark cultural moments and drive engagement.

“The concern is that this ban could spook some consumers and brands, reducing the amount of time and investment they put into the platform. That presents a challenge for brands and content creators who have amassed large followings on TikTok, and whose content doesn’t translate across to other platforms perfectly.”

“It does, however, create opportunities for other platforms to capitalise. An immediate solution for brands and creators is to pivot to Instagram and YouTube’s equivalent short form video content formats – Reels and Shorts, respectively – which are increasing in popularity.

“As for TikTok, the platform will need to reassure users and stakeholders of its compliance to fair and transparent data handling to avoid any further damage. That could see TikTok’s Chinese owners having to divest their stakes in it, and/or a split from parent company, ByteDance.”

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