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Will UK follow US in demanding TikTok be sold by its Chinese owner?

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When asked this week whether the UK would ban TikTok on government phones, Rishi Sunak’s response signalled a change in stance: “We look at what our allies are doing.”Previously ministers had seemed sanguine, even saying that whether or not the app stayed on someone’s phone should be a matter of “personal choice”.Not any more.

The UK’s allies are turning against TikTok and it was when Sunak said he was watching their actions closely that a government ban became inevitable.

The US, Canada and the EU’s executive arm have already decided to strip the app from government devices. It’s now a matter of geopolitical choice.TikTok is owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance.

The fear among its critics on both sides of the Atlantic is that the Chinese state can access data generated by its more than 1 billion users and manipulate its recommendation algorithm in order to push a China-friendly point of view to unsuspecting users.There is no hard evidence this is the case and TikTok says it would refuse any data request from the Chinese government.

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