TikTok said today that there is “no evidence” that the Chinese Community Party has access to user data after senior Conservative officials said it was “as much of a threat to Britain” than Huawei.
Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has called for the service to be banned because of its ties to “Chinese intelligence”, which are concerned about hijacking user data for espionage purposes.
TikTok, which allows users to post short videos, is owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance, but today its director of public policy for Europe, Theo Bertram, said allegations of government interference Chinese were “completely false”.
“TikTok is not available in China. TikTok data is stored in the United States, “he told the BBC Today program. “TikTok is a company incorporated in the United States. There is no truth to the accusations that the Chinese state has access to TikTok user data.
Mr. Bertram added that the social media app would “definitely say no” to any data request and was set up in a way that “protects our users from the Chinese government”.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith has called for the app to be banned because of its links to ‘Chinese intelligence’, who are concerned about recovering user data for espionage purposes
Referring to the app, which is very popular with teenagers, Sir Iain told The Times: “There are serious concerns, as big as Huawei, about the role they play.
“TikTok is the product of a company called Byte Dance which has roots everywhere right now, much like Huawei. They grow up like crazy. Everyone is now looking at the business.
Tom Tugendhat, Conservative Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “Companies like Byte Dance are raising serious questions about who they are willing to work with and what this cooperation will do. “
TikTok is already banned by India and Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, says America could follow suit.
The app was downloaded 738 million times worldwide in 2019 and allows users to post short 15-second videos to music.
Critics see it as a threat to national security because of its ties to China and say it is forced to “support and cooperate with the intelligence services controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
Concerns have also been raised about the volume of data the app collects from its users and allegations that it censors material that undermines China’s foreign policy objectives or mentions its human rights record.
The company had planned to open its world headquarters in Britain, but the move was reportedly on hold amid growing concern over Beijing’s influence in Britain.
Theo Bertram of TikTok said the app was “pitched like political football” and some of the “political rhetoric” was “slipping out of reality.”
TikTok, which allows users to post short videos and is very popular with teenagers, has already been banned by India
The TikTok executive also dismissed reports that the company had put aside plans to build its global headquarters in London amid continuing tensions between the UK and China.
“We’re still thinking about what to do with our world headquarters and we haven’t made a decision on that yet, and everything else is just speculation,” he said.
The review of the social media app has intensified in recent weeks as tensions between London and Beijing intensified following criticism by the British government of the Hong Kong security law and the recent decision to ban tech company Huawei from the country’s 5G network.
When asked about a ban in the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “we take this very seriously.”
“When it comes to Chinese applications on people’s cellphones, I can assure you that the United States will do it too,” he said. ‘I don’t want to go out in front of the president [Donald Trump], but it’s something we’re looking at.
He said that people should only download the app “if you want your private information to be in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Despite its ownership, TikTok has never been available in China. Instead, ByteDance operates a more heavily censored version under the name of Douyin.
TiKTok previously said it works separately from ByteDance. It claims its data centers are located outside of China and none of the data is subject to Chinese law.
Despite its ownership, TikTok has never been available in China. However, critics say it is used by Chinese intelligence. In the photo, President Xi
US user data is stored in the United States, with a backup in Singapore, according to TikTok.
The company has also come under fire from child safety activists after an investigation found pedophiles caught treating children on the app were only given a one-week suspension.
Leaked documents obtained by the Telegraph showed that the tech company’s policy for users caught sexually messaging children was to lock their account for seven days for their first offense, one month for the second, and then to impose an automatic permanent ban on the third opportunity. .
Former site moderators said the rules meant pedophiles were allowed to return to the site with the same accounts and continue to try to groom children.
Theo Bertram of TikTok said today that the policy was replaced “over a year ago” and that the app had a “zero tolerance” policy on child pornography.