Mar 14, 2023
UK Probing TikTok’s Ownership, Security Minister Tugendhat Says
(Bloomberg) -- The UK is carrying out an “important” investigation into Chinese social media app TikTok, Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said, but he refused to be drawn on whether it would be banned from UK government mobile devices.
Speaking to broadcasters on Tuesday morning, Tugendhat confirmed that he has asked Britain’s National Security Cyber Centre to look into the app, and said it is right to investigate concerns about TikTok’s ownership. “I haven’t had an answer yet,” he said.
“I haven’t personally downloaded TikTok for reasons you can probably guess,” Tugendhat told Sky News.
Tugendhat said it was “certainly clear that for many young people TikTok is a news source,” and that “it is important to know who owns a news source,” whether it’s a social media app or a newspaper. TikTok’s parent company ByteDance Ltd is headquartered in Beijing.
A person familiar with UK plans said at the weekend that the app would be banned, following a similar decision by the European Commission. Western governments have become increasingly worried about TikTok’s potential national security risk, in light of concerns around its parent company, ByteDance Ltd.
Speaking a day after the UK issued an update to its Integrated Review of defense and security strategy, which described China as an “epoch-defining challenge,” Tugendhat said that the country “poses many threats to Britain.”
“We need to make sure that our phones are not spyware,” the minister later told Times Radio.
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