Posted by on August 3, 2022 5:37 pm
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UK Parliament scraps its TikTok account amid China concerns

UK Parliament scraps its TikTok account amid China concerns

Ryan King August 03, 05:30 PMAugust 03, 05:30 PM Video Embed

The U.K. Parliament can tick one item off its to-do list after it scrapped its TikTok account amid concerns about Chinese oversight.

British officials confirmed they deactivated the account a mere six days after opening it in response to backlash from members of Parliament who were concerned about the platform’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party and its handling of user data.

INSIDE TIKTOK’S ARMY OF LOBBYISTS OF EX-SENATORS, CONGRESSMEN, AND STAFFERS

“Based on member feedback, we are closing the pilot U.K. parliament TikTok account earlier than we had planned. The account was a pilot initiative while we tested the platform as a way of reaching younger audiences with relevant content about parliament,” a spokesperson told Politico.

https://twitter.com/UKParliament/status/1552279786873135104?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1552279786873135104%7Ctwgr%5Ed1dfd98fa968f0b5039fca0f01776eb6c3154dbc%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Fuk-politics-62410234

Late last month, a group of MPs sent a scathing letter to the speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords blasting the decision to test a parliamentary TikTok account. They cited concerns that a national intelligence law China passed in 2017 required companies to turn over data to the government if requested.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese parent company that critics fear would be subject to the national intelligence law and therefore forced to turn over data to the Chinese government upon request.

Executives of TikTok failed to “reassure MPs that the company could prevent data transfer to ByteDance,” the lawmakers argued in the letter, per the BBC.

“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,” they continued.

Theo Bertram, TikTok’s vice president for government relations and public policy in Europe, previously insisted the platform has “never been asked to provide TikTok user data to the Chinese government, nor would we if asked.”

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In response to the British Parliament shutting down its TikTok account, the company offered to talk to concerned MPs to ease their concerns about its handling of user data.

“While it is disappointing that parliament will no longer be able to connect with the millions of people who use TikTok in the U.K., we reiterate the offer to reassure those Members of Parliament who raised concerns and clarify any inaccuracies about our platform,” a spokesperson said, according to the outlet.

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