The UK parliament has performed a screeching U-turn and dropped its use of TikTok amidst growing security concerns.
Just last week, the UK parliament announced its arrival on TikTok as part of a bid to engage with young people.
However, following a joint complaint from several MPs and members of the House of Lords relating to the security threat posed by the social network, the UK parliament TikTok account has now been pulled.
The issue here stems the fact that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is headquartered in Beijing. Chinese companies are ultimately compelled by law to comply with any requests for data from the local government.
“While efforts made to engage young people in the history and functioning of parliament should always be welcomed,” reads a joint letter to the speakers of the House of Common, “we cannot and should not legitimise the use of an app which has been described by tech experts as ‘essentially Chinese government spyware'”.
In response to the complaint, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Lord Speaker Lord McFall have agreed to terminate the UK parliament TikTok account.
“We were not consulted on the plans for this pilot project, but over the last few days we have discussed the initiative with officials,” reads the speakers’ response.
“The account was an attempt to engage with younger audiences – who are not always active on our existing social media platforms – regarding the work of Parliament. However, in light of your feedback and concerns expressed to us, we have decided that the account should be closed with immediate effect.”
There are now moves to encourage Downing Street and senior MPs to follow parliament’s lead and shut down their own TikTok accounts.