British Soldier mobile telephone 16112022 CREDIT MOD.jpg
The TikTok ban comes after Cabinet Office ministers ordered a security review (Picture: MOD).

MOD keeps official TikTok account live as Government ban announced

British Soldier mobile telephone 16112022 CREDIT MOD.jpg
The TikTok ban comes after Cabinet Office ministers ordered a security review (Picture: MOD).

Just days after the Ministry of Defence (MOD) launched its own TikTok account, the Government has announced it is banning the popular social media app on all Government devices.

Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden told MPs the video-sharing app would be banned on security grounds with immediate effect.

The MOD, however, which has 902 followers and 3,894 likes, said it has "robust processes" in place to ensure its devices are secure and its TikTok account, launched about a week ago, remains live.

Mr Dowden announced the "precautionary move" – which is not being extended to members of the public – with "immediate effect".

He said it was a prudent and proportionate step following "advice from our cyber security experts" as he noted risks around how sensitive information can be accessed by TikTok.

"The security of sensitive Government information must come first, so today we are banning this app on Government devices. The use of other data-extracting apps will be kept under review," the minister said.

But he said there will be "limited exemptions" on some Government devices made on a "case-by-case basis" where the video-sharing app is required for work purposes.

In response to news about the ban, an MOD spokesperson said: "We use a wide range of digital channels, including TikTok, to promote the work of the Armed Forces and to communicate our support to Ukraine. 

"Robust processes are in place to ensure our devices are secure, including managing risks from third-party applications. Our most sensitive information is held on a separate system."

Watch: Army investigating security breach of social media accounts.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had been under pressure from senior MPs to follow the US and the European Union in barring the video-sharing app from official devices.

But Downing Street has said there are no plans to delete the No 10 account.

The Cabinet Office said the ban was being imposed because TikTok users are required to hand over data including contacts, user content and geolocation data.

TikTok, owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance, said it was "disappointed" with the decision and said bans were based on "fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics".

TikTok has long said it does not share data with China but the country's intelligence legislation requires firms to help the Communist Party when requested. Critics fear the policy could expose western data to Beijing.

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