UK Parliament closes TikTok account after China data warning
The UK Parliament has closed down its TikTok account after MPs raised concerns about the risk of data being passed to the Chinese government.
The account has been locked, and content deleted, 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.
TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which has denied it was controlled by the Chinese government.
Relations between London and Beijing have been fraught in recent years, with tensions heightened by China’s sanctioning of several MPs last year.
“Based on member feedback, we are closing the pilot UK Parliament TikTok account earlier than we had planned,” a UK Parliament spokesman said.
“The account was a pilot initiative while we tested the platform as a way of reaching younger audiences with relevant content about Parliament.”
A TikTok spokeswoman told the BBC 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 Sir Iain Duncan Smith and recent Tory 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.