As Donald Trump Says He Will Ban TikTok, Is It Also Getting Banned In The UK?

Prominent ministers said TikTok was under review in the UK last month, but how about now?

Is TikTok being banned in the UK?

by Rhiannon Evans |
Updated on

No 2020, not now. The internet is in full-on panic about whether TikTok will be banned in the UK.It comes after Donald Trump told reporters 'As far as TikTok is concerned, we're banning them from the United States' on Friday.

The short-form video app has been not only one of the biggest successes of 2020 (not much competition tbf), but has also brought some much-needed joy to our lives throughout the pandemic.

But now, amid rising tensions with China, it looks like the app will be banned in the US. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance - it's already been banned in India. But what about over here?

Is TikTok getting banned in the UK?

Last month, former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said it was under review: '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.'

It was announced this year that Chinese technology company Huawei will be stripped of role in UK's 5G network by 2027.

Tom Tugendhat, the Tory chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said on the fate of TikTok: 'Companies like Byte Dance raise serious questions about who they're willing to work with and what that co-operation will enable.'

There are concerns that because of its ties to China it could be compelled to 'support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party'.

But TikTok have strongly denied this. The company's head of public policy for Europe, Theo Bertram, told Radio 4's Today programme: 'TikTok is not available in China. TikTok data is stored in the US,' he said. '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.' He added they would 'definitely say no' to any requests for data.

When ministers first made these comments, there were also reports that claimed TikTok's plans to build an HQ in the UK (and create up to 3,000 jobs) was now in jeopardy. However, since then there hasn't been a word from ministers. And in fact, last week TikTok announced they were launching a £54million 'Creator Fund' for users across Europe coinciding with TikTok turning two years old in the UK.

The fund will pay creators across Europe to develop original creative content for the app and is the first time TikTok users can make money from their content beyond brand partnerships and deals.

It's with that in mind that UK fears about the app being banned have quelled slightly, as it seems unrealistic the company would launch such an initiative if UK users suddenly couldn't use the app in the same way US users may do - with rumours it could be banned as soon as this week.

Is TikTok getting banned in America?

According to Donald Trump, yes. The US Government has suggested on a number of occasions that they could follow India in banning the app, which has been downloaded more than 2billion times worldwide.

Last Friday, Trump told reporters he could sign an executive order as early as Saturday however there is still much speculation as to how they would go about banning the app. Ordering Apple and Google to remove it might be met with resistance from the tech-giants, so perhaps they will order internet service providers to block access to TikTok's servers as the Indian government did.

However, all of this is speculation right now especially as Microsoft is in talks with ByteDance to acquire the business in the US, Canada and New Zealand. Having a US company in charge of the data collection would likely quell fears in the US government about how that data is managed and used.

Is TikTok Safe?

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a tech company based in Beijing, China and the suggestion is being made that the app could be feeding information back to the Chinese government.

They’ve previously strongly denied claims, saying: ‘TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US.’

Why is the US considering a TikTok ban?

However, some have speculated online that the US Government could have another reason for not liking TikTok – namely the fact that teens on the app recently bought tickets to a Trump rally, to make it look empty..

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