London City Hall staff will no longer have TikTok on their devices, following the latest ban imposed on the Chinese-owned social media app over security concerns. The Greater London Authority (GLA) has implemented the rule, stating that it takes information security “extremely seriously.”

This decision comes after the UK Government banned ministers from using the video-sharing app on their work phones after a security review. The House of Commons and the Lords also cited security concerns when they decided to ban the app across the Palace of Westminster. In addition, the Scottish Government is imposing a ban on official devices over concerns “on the potential tracking and privacy risks from certain social media apps.”

TikTok, owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance, argues that it does not share data with China. However, Beijing’s intelligence legislation requires firms to help the Communist Party when requested. When the UK Government announced its ban last week, citing a risk to “sensitive” data, Beijing reacted angrily. The Chinese embassy in the UK described the move as one “based on its political motive rather than facts” and said it will “ultimately harm the UK’s own interests.”

A TikTok spokesperson stated that they believe these bans are based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics. They also said that they are “readily available to meet with the Mayor to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors.” TikTok is currently implementing a comprehensive plan to further protect European user data, including storing UK user data in European data centers and tightening data access controls, with third-party independent oversight of their approach.

Source: The Journal