Majority of restrictions have been fixed on government devices for precautions with security of official data
At least 18 countries and the European Union have implemented some kind of restriction on the TikTok app. Most of the action against the Chinese app was taken out of nations’ concerns regarding data security.
There are few countries that have completely banned the use of the platform within their territory. The United States, for example, banned U.S. government officials to install TikTok on government agency devices. However, Washington has already indicated that it wants to completely ban the use of TikTok.
On March 16th, the US government said the app will be vetoed in the country if ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the platform, does not agree to separate from the social network.
The CFIUS (Committee of Foreign Investments of the North American country) fears that data from users of the app can be shared with the Chinese government.
Since 2022, TikTok has undergone a rigorous security review in order to remain in compliance with the regulation of the North American country.
New Zealand e United Kingdom also announced that they banned the app from state-owned corporate handsets in March this year.
The EU (European Union) established that bloc officials in member countries could no longer use the platform on official devices. If they refuse to delete the app Chinese, they should delete work-related apps.
Some countries have also suspended TikTok temporarily. On July 3, 2018, Indonesia forbade access to the platform in the country, as it presents content considered “pornographic and blasphemous”. The majority of Indonesia’s population is Muslim. The country overturned the ban on the app days later, on July 11, 2018.
Afghanistan, controlled by the fundamentalist Taliban group, forbade completely the use of the application in the country also for religious reasons. On April 21, 2022, the country justified the decision with the fear that “young people go astray”.
The India banned the country’s TikTok in June 2020, along with more than 50 Chinese apps. New Delhi stated that the decision was to protect the data and privacy of Indian citizens and to stop the platform that would be “stealing and transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers outside India”.
In the United States, at least 26 states banned the social network on official devices by January 2023. Florida was the 1st state to restrict TikTok in the country.
On March 22, TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew, stated to the Energy and Commerce Committee and US chamber that the short videos app “never shared” US user data with the government of China. For some US lawmakers, the platform poses a risk to the privacy of the population and to the country’s national security.
“TikTok has never shared or received a request to share US user data with the Chinese government. And I wouldn’t even do it if any request were made “, said in a formal statement sent to the committee. Here’s the full in English (421 KB)
On March 23, Shou Zi Chew stated that the platform’s plan is to move US user data to the United States. He also said that the information will be supervised by an American company.
The statements by the company’s executive director were given in testimony to the Energy and Commerce Committee of the US House.
The TikTok app itself is not available in China. Instead, ByteDance offers another version of the platform called Douyin.
ByteDance was founded in 2012 in Beijing by Zhang Yiming. In 2016, the company launched the short video social network Douyin. In May 2017, ByteDance launched the app outside of China under the name “TikTok”.
In November of the same year, the big tech Chinese company acquired Musical.ly, an app that had the same proposal as TikTok, and merged the two platforms in August 2018.
This report was produced by journalism intern Maria Laura under the supervision of editor Victor Labaki
10.Apr.2023 (18:15) – Unlike what was published in this post, it is correct to say that most of the measures against the application were taken as precautions and not “they were taken”. The text has been corrected and updated.