Why TikTok Faces Government Bans in These 11 Countries

·3 min read

(Bloomberg) -- A growing number of governments are banning TikTok from official phones, as concerns grow over security threats posed by the Chinese-owned social media platform.

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On Thursday, TikTok Chief Executive Shou Chew faced hostile questioning during a hearing with US lawmakers — who repeatedly cut off his attempts to answer. US officials are exploring how to force TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance Ltd., to sell its shares of the unit or block it altogether in the US.

Less than a day after the hearing, France banned “recreational applications” including TikTok from civil servants’ mobile phones, becoming just the latest government imposing restrictions. Here is a list of countries and institutions that have moved to block TikTok:

US

Dec. 15: The Senate unanimously voted to ban TikTok from all government-issued phones and other devices. The bill included some exceptions for law enforcement, security researchers and intelligence-gathering activities. The White House and the US Army already banned the app, and federal agencies where given 30 days from the start of March to delete it from devices.

EU Institutions

Feb. 23: Staff at the European Union’s executive arm were told to delete TikTok from mobile phones and corporate devices, including personal devices that use commission apps. The European Parliament subsequently issued a similar order.

Canada

Feb. 27: Canada banned civil servants from using TikTok on government-issued devices, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying it was a “first step” in keeping Canadians safe.

Denmark

March 6: The Defense Ministry said it would ban employees from using TikTok on official devices following a recommendation by the country’s Center for Cyber Security.

Belgium

March 10: Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said federal employees were banned from using the app on government phones due to worries about cybersecurity, privacy and misinformation, Reuters reported.

UK

March 16: The decision to ban TikTok from government phones was made after a review concluded that there “could be a risk around how sensitive government data is accessed and used by certain platforms,” Cabinet Office Secretary Oliver Dowden said. Parliament later banned TikTok on local networks and staff devices.

New Zealand

March 17: Lawmakers and other workers in the nation’s parliament were barred from using the app on government phones, on the recommendation of government cybersecurity experts, AP reported.

Norway

March 21: Norway’s Justice minister Emilie Enger Mehl advised civil servants to remove TikTok and the Telegram messaging app from their phones, citing security and disinformation risks coming from China and Russia.

The Netherlands

March 21: On the same day as Norway told civil servants to delete TikTok, the Dutch government gave a similar recommendation regarding apps from countries with an “offensive cyber program” against the Netherlands.

France

March 24: France banned “recreational applications” including TikTok from civil servants’ mobile phones, the public service ministry said in a statement. The digital minister said in a statement that the ban also included apps like Netflix and Candy Crush that didn’t offer a sufficient level of cybersecurity.

Poland

March 24: Advisers to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki are working on a recommendation to block TikTok on devices used by the government administration and parliament, Polityka Insight reported, citing the draft document.

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