UK Parliament Bans TikTok on Devices and Westminster Network

(Bloomberg) -- The UK Parliament banned TikTok on local networks and staff devices, adding to high-profile restrictions on the video-sharing platform in western nations amid mounting security concerns.

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“Cyber security is a top priority for Parliament,” the legislature said in a statement. “The commissions of both the House of Commons and Lords have decided that TikTok will be blocked.”

The decision adds to moves by Western governments to reduce use of TikTok, which is owned by Chinese-backed Bytedance Ltd. Last week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak banned TikTok from official government phones. The US Congress last year restricted the app on government devices, and European Commission employees were told to delete it by March 15.

The announcement came at the same time as TikTok CEO Shou Chew was answering questions about the platform’s links with China from the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.

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“We believe this action is misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions about our company,” a TikTok spokesperson said. “Potentially depriving users from access to and engagement with their representatives is a self-defeating step, especially in our shared fight against misinformation.”

“We are disappointed that, despite our requests, we have not been offered any opportunity to address concerns and only ask to be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors,” the spokesperson said.

Despite last week’s UK government ban, Energy Secretary Grant Shapps made it clear he could and would still use the social media app on his personal phone.

The Parliamentary spokesman said authorities wouldn’t comment on “specific details of our cyber or physical security controls, policies or incidents.”

(Updates with TikTok statement in fifth, sixth paragraphs.)

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