The Scottish Government spent more than £300,000 on TikTok before it was banned for security reasons.
Former Deputy First Minister John Swinney indicated before leaving office that the video-sharing app would be banned from Government phones, mirroring a similar decision made by the UK Government and Scottish Parliament due to cybersecurity concerns.
Concerns had been raised that the Chinese government may acquire sensitive data from app users, an allegation that Beijing’s embassy in the UK has refuted.
The magnitude of the Government’s spending on the app, which does not charge to create an account or submit videos, is revealed in a response from current Deputy First Minister Shona Robison to a question from the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
The Scottish Government spent £71,179 on the app in 2020, rising to £127,372 the next year and £112,508 in 2022.
The Government had spent an additional £27,474 in the months leading up to the ban’s announcement on March 23, for a total of £338,533 in just over three years.
According to reports, the money was spent on app marketing initiatives, but no additional funding by the Scottish Government is planned.
“There are real fears that platforms like TikTok could be exploited in such a way as to threaten national security,” said Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, who asked the question about spending.