Chinese-owned social media app TikTok has been banned on UK government electronic devices, while the BBC has advised staff to delete TikTok from corporate phones because of privacy and security fears.
The government ban comes after Cabinet Office Ministers ordered a security review which examined the potential vulnerability of government data from social media apps on devices and risks around how sensitive information could be accessed and used by some platforms.
The United States barred TikTok from official devices in December, and the European Commission followed suit last month. Canada, Belgium and India have taken similar action.
New Zealand on Friday also issued a ban on government devices.
TikTok has strongly denied allegations that it supplies the Chinese government with data from the app.
TikTok’s parent company is ByteDance, whose headquarters are in Beijing.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden said: “Restricting the use of TikTok on Government devices is a prudent and proportionate step following advice from our cyber security experts.”
The ban does not extend to personal devices for government employees, ministers or the general public.
The BBC is reportedly the first UK media organisation to issue the guidance to remove TikTok from corporate phones - and only the second in the world after Denmark’s public service broadcaster.
The BBC said it would continue to use the platform for editorial and marketing purposes for now.
In an email to staff, the BBC said: “The decision is based on concerns raised by government authorities worldwide regarding data privacy and security.
“If the device is a BBC corporate device, and you do not need TikTok for business reasons, TikTok should be deleted from the BBC corporate mobile device.”