Is it time to delete TikTok? – podcast | News

The UK has joined the US, Canada and the EU in ordering its government officials to remove the TikTok app from their work devices amid fears of a security threat. Government officials in the west say that TikTok’s ownership by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance puts sensitive user data at risk of being accessed by the Chinese government.

As the Guardian’s UK technology editor Alex Hern tells Hannah Moore, the governments are not able to cite specific incidents to back up their ban but it forms part of an overall cooling in relations with China.

TikTok itself has never been more popular: last year it was the most downloaded app in the world. It has a reported user base of more than a billion people and remains the fastest-growing social media platform since 2020. And it operates in the west in a way that western tech companies such as Meta and Google are not able to in China.

But despite assurances from TikTok’s executives that the data they hold on users has not been handed to the Chinese government, ByteDance admitted that in the past employees used their own app to spy on reporters in an attempt to track down journalists’ sources.

A 3-D printed figures are seen in front of displayed Tik Tok logoPin

Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

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