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Technology

UK Parliament shuts TikTok account after China data warning

IANS | August 04, 2022 04:16 PM

LONDON: After MPs raised concerns about the risk of data being passed to the Chinese government, the UK Parliament suspended and deleted content of its TikTok account, days after its launch.

Senior MPs and peers had called for the account to be removed until TikTok gave "credible assurances" no data could be handed to China, reports the BBC.

"Based on member feedback, we are closing the pilot UK Parliament TikTok account earlier than we had planned, " a UK Parliament spokesman was quoted as saying.

"The account was a pilot initiative while we tested the platform as a way of reaching younger audiences with relevant content about Parliament, " it added.

Meanwhile, TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has denied it was controlled by the Chinese government.

TikTok spokeswoman said it was "disappointing" that Parliament would not be able to connect with users of the app in the UK.

Offering to reassure the MPs who raised concerns, the spokeswoman said TikTok would be willing to "clarify any inaccuracies about our platform".

Peers and MPs, including former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith and recent party leadership contender Tom Tugendhat, flagged those concerns in a letter to the speakers of both Houses of Parliament.

In the letter, the peers and MPs, who have been sanctioned by the Chinese government for speaking out about human rights abuses in the country, said they were "surprised and disappointed" by Parliament's decision to set up the account.

The letter said the data security risks associated with the app were "considerable".

TikTok executives were "unable to reassure MPs that the company could prevent data transfer to ByteDance, should the parent company make a request for it", the letter said.

"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, " it added.

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