Numerous governments around the world have criticized and questioned the global social media giant TikTok. Recently, Conservative MP Alicia Kerns openly warned Brits against using the app, saying the platform was exposing users’ data to “hostile” threats, like the Chinese government.
While TikTok’s owners, ByteDance, have made efforts to settle lawsuits and assuage concerns, several countries have decided to outright ban it. Here is a comprehensive look at all the countries that have banned TikTok.
The US government announced on February 28 that it had ordered all federal employees to remove TikTok from their government-issued phones to protect confidential data.
“We firmly oppose those wrong actions,” said a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry. The US government should respect market economy and fair competition principles, stop suppressing businesses, and create an open, fair, and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies in the US.”
They added: “How unsure of itself can the world’s top superpower like the US be to fear young people’s favourite app like that.”
TikTok is also not permitted to be installed on any government-issued devices in North America. The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, explained the reason, saying: “I suspect that as the government takes the significant step of telling all federal employees that they can no longer use TikTok on their work phones, many Canadians from business to private individuals will reflect on the security of their data and perhaps make choices, I’m always a fan of giving Canadians the information for them to make the right decisions for them.”
The European Union
The European Commission and the EU Council began the wave of bans within the EU by temporarily prohibiting TikTok from employee phones as a cybersecurity measure.
Later that day, on February 28, the European Parliament announced that it would follow suit. Employees have been barred from accessing the platform on their devices if their Parliament email and other network accesses are installed, in addition to downloading the video-sharing app on their work phones.
TikTok was banned in India in June 2020, along with several other Chinese apps, because the country believes it threatens national security and defence. With over 200 million users before the ban, India was TikTok’s largest international market.
Following concerns that the Chinese government was conducting “cognitive warfare” against the nation, the Taiwanese government banned TikTok from all public-sector devices in 2022.
Pakistan has banned the video-sharing app several times, with the most recent ban expiring in November 2021.
A Taliban spokesperson stated in April 2022 that the government intended to ban the app due to the negative impact it had on the younger generation and its inconsistencies with Islamic laws. TikTok is still available in the country as of now.
TikTok is completely prohibited in Iran because the rules of TikTok and Iranian laws are incompatible.