North Yorkshire Council bans TikTok from staff phones

North Yorkshire Council has banned the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok from staff devices over security fears.

The move means people working for the new council are not be allowed to use the app on any work devices.

Staff have also been “strongly discouraged” from using the app on personal devices that are also used for work purposes.

It follows the lead of the UK parliament which banned the app last month.

A council spokesperson said the ban came into effect from April 1, which was the council’s first day of existence.

TikTok has over 1.5 billion users around the world and allows users to create and share short-form videos.

However, there have been growing fears over what the company does with the personal data it collects from users.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has strongly denied allegations that it shares data to the Chinese government.

Assistant director of technology for North Yorkshire Council, Madeline Hoskin, said:

“North Yorkshire Council does not allow the media sharing app TikTok on any of its corporate devices and it is not approved to be used for any work purpose.

“In addition to this, we would strongly discourage any use of the app or website on personal devices that are also being used for work purposes.

“We have made this decision because both the TikTok app and the website collect a lot of personal and very detailed information that is stored outside of the UK, and though currently this data is predominantly used for targeted advertising, the volume and depth of the data being captured and stored poses a potential risk we do not believe is acceptable.”

A TikTok spokesperson said:

“We believe recent bans are based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok and our community around the world play no part.

“We remain committed to working with governments and partners to address any security concerns, but ask to be judged on facts, not fears, and treated equally to our competitors. We have already begun implementing a comprehensive plan to further protect our US and European user data, building on the principles of local data storage and introducing third-party independent oversight of our approach.”