The U.K. added itself to the list of countries who have banned TikTok on government-owned devices, saying the Chinese-owned social media app poses a threat to cybersecurity.
The U.S., European Union, Canada and India have already done the same thing, The New York Times reported.
The British ban results from a recent assessment by cybersecurity experts of the risk of third-party apps on government devices, of which TikTok was a particular focus.
“This is a precautionary move — we know that there is already limited use of TikTok across Government — but it is also good cyber hygiene,” senior cabinet minister Oliver Dowden said.
The U.K. and other countries who have banned TikTok on government devices are specifically concerned about the Chinese government gaining access to sensitive data. Dowden called China “the most significant state threat faced by the United Kingdom.”
TikTok has asserted that it does not give information to the Chinese government. The company said it was disappointed in the U.K. and that the ban is “based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics,” according to The New York Times.
However, Deseret News reported that “under Chinese national security law, the government can force companies to turn over data including intellectual property and proprietary information of users in the United States.”
The ban will not apply to government officials’ personal devices, but Dowden did encourage individuals to exercise caution when it comes to downloading and using social media apps.
The White House gave federal agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all government devices on Feb. 27. On Wednesday, Biden threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S. if its parent company, ByteDance, doesn’t sell the app.
More than half of the states in the U.S. have instituted a similar ban, including Utah — Gov. Spencer Cox signed an executive order doing so in December.
“We must protect Utahns and make sure that the people of Utah can trust the state’s security systems,” Cox said in a statement, according to the Deseret News.