Parliament shuts down TikTok account after concerns over its links to China

Parliament's TikTok account has been unceremoniously shut down after MPs complained about the social media platform's links to China.

The app, which is owned by Chinese parent firm ByteDance, was to be used as a way to engage young people with politics.

However, MPs have raised serious concerns about user data being sent to Beijing.

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The tension between China and Parliament has heated up following Westminister banning Chinese company Huawei from involvement in the UK’s 5G network as well as China sanctioning several MPs for criticising the nation's treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority group.

A UK Parliament spokesperson said: "Based on Member feedback, we are closing the pilot UK Parliament TikTok account earlier than we had planned.

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

A group of senior Conservative MPs including the likes of Tom Tugendhat, Nus Ghani and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, all complained about the short-lived TikTok account in a letter that was sent to the Speakers of the Commons and the Lords.

The very same MPs who established their concern about the platform were also the ones who spoke out against human rights abuses as Duncan Smith praised the government for their decision to shut down the account.

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He said: "We are pleased that Parliament, immediately they were told, understood there was a problem and shut it down.

"It's important for others to look at that now and we need to start talking to people about not using TikTok."

TikTok had written to the MPs who signed the letter to help them understand the data protection process as a spokesperson for the platform called it a disappointment that Parliament had closed the account.

A TikTok spokesperson said: "While it is disappointing that Parliament will no longer be able to connect with the millions of people who use TikTok in the UK, we reiterate the offer to reassure those Members of Parliament who raised concerns and clarify any inaccuracies about our platform."

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