The UK Parliament closed its TikTok account after British politicians wrote a letter warning that the platform passes user data to the Chinese government.
“The prospect of Xi Jinping’s government having access to personal data on our children’s phones ought to be a cause for major concern,” said the letter, signed by a group of six politicians, including Foreign Affairs Committee chair Tom Tugendhat. “We cannot and should not legitimise the use of an app which has been described by tech experts as `essentially Chinese Government spyware.'”
Chinese companies are required by law to yield data to China, the letter said, noting that TikTok’s parent company, Byetdance, is registered in China.
The account was created to engage young audiences in British politics, said an official response from the UK parliament, but lasted just a week before concerns were accepted and it was swiftly removed.
The West Hits Back at TikTok
The move comes a month after the Federal Communications Commission argued that China is using the TikTok accounts of American troops to understand US army strategy.
The Commissioner cited more than 80 leaked audio tapes of internal meetings at TikTok, analysed by Buzzfeed News last month, which revealed statements from nine different employees saying that China had access to US data last year.
“Common sense prevails,” said UK MP Nustrati Ghani on Wednesday. She led efforts charge to persuade Parliament to close the account.
“We need absolute clarity from TikTok,” that the Chinese government is not interfering with the app, she said on BBC Radio 4.
- By Alfie Habershon