Senior Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith has called popular social media app TikTok as much of a threat to the UK’s national security as Huawei.
Iain Duncan Smith led a movement in the Tory Party to have Huawei removed from the UK’s 5G network garnering the support of, reportedly, over thirty Conservative MP’s. Following the announcement from the government that Huawei would be removed from the network BY 2027, Mr Duncan Smith said that although the decision was a good one the timescale was too long.
On subject of TikTok, Sir Iain told The Times: ‘There are real serious concerns, as big as with Huawei, over the role that they play.
‘TikTok is the product of a company called Byte Dance which has roots everywhere at the moment, a bit like Huawei. They’re growing like mad. Everybody is now reviewing the company.’
Tom Tugendhat, the Tory chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said: ‘Companies like Byte Dance raise serious questions about who they’re willing to work with and what that co-operation will enable.’
India have already banned the app and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said they could follow could follow. Mike Pompeo is due to arrive in the UK today to discuss the ongoing situation with China.
TikTok’s Europe public policy director Theo Bertram said claims of Chinese government interference were ‘completely false’.
‘TikTok is not available in China. TikTok data is stored in the US,’ he told the BBC’s Today programme. ‘TikTok is a company incorporated in the US. There is zero truth to the accusations that the Chinese state has access to TikTok users’ data.’
Mr Bertram also said that TikTok would ‘definitely say no’ to any data requests, and has been set up in a way to ‘give protection to our users from the Chinese government’.
TikTok had planned to build headquarters in the UK, a decision which is in doubt following US pressure.
There have been accusations that TikTok have been deleting videos critical of the Chinese government with regards to situations in Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan and the Uyghur ethnic minority.