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Data Risk: UK Parliament closes its TikTok account after China data warning

The UK Parliament has closed down its TikTok account after MPs raised concerns about the risk of data being passed to the Chinese government.

The parliament account has been locked, and content deleted, days after its launch.

Senior MPs and peers had called for the account to be removed until TikTok gave “credible assurances” that no data could be handed to China.

TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which has denied it was controlled by the Chinese government.

Relations between London and Beijing have been fraught in recent years, with tensions heightened by China’s sanctioning of several MPs last year.

“Based on member feedback, we are closing the pilot UK Parliament TikTok account earlier than we had planned,” a UK Parliament spokesman said.

“The account was a pilot initiative while we tested the platform as a way of reaching younger audiences with relevant content about Parliament.”

A TikTok spokeswoman told the BBC it was “disappointing” that Parliament would not be able to connect with users of the app in the UK.

Offering to reassure the MPs who raised concerns, the spokeswoman said TikTok would be willing to “clarify any inaccuracies about our platform”.

The letter said the data security risks associated with the app were “considerable”.

TikTok executives were “unable to reassure MPs that the company could prevent data transfer to ByteDance, should the parent company make a request for it”, the letter said.

It added: “The prospect of Xi Jinping’s government having access to personal data on our children’s phones ought to be a cause for major concern.”

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