British government ministers have been banned from using Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on their work phones.
The government fears sensitive data held on official phones could be accessed by the Chinese government.
Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden said the ban was a “precautionary” move but would come into effect immediately.
TikTok has strongly denied allegations that it hands users’ data to the Chinese government.
Theo Bertram, the app’s vice-president of government relations and public policy in Europe, told the BBC it believed the decision was based on “more on geopolitics than anything else”.
“We asked to be judged not on the fears that people have, but on the facts,” he added.
The Chinese embassy in London said the move was motivated by politics “rather than facts” and would “undermine the confidence of the international community in the UK’s business environment”.
Mr Dowden said he would not advise the public against using TikTok, but they should always “consider each social media platform’s data policies before downloading and using them”.
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 government devices.
But government departments – and individual ministers – have embraced TikTok as a way of getting their message out to younger people.
Use of the app has exploded in recent years, with 3.5 billion downloads worldwide.