HONG KONG -- The U.S. and Canada issued orders this week to ban the use of TikTok on government-issued mobile devices, as privacy and cybersecurity concerns grow over the short-video app.
TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company Bytedance, has long maintained that it does not share data with the Chinese government and that its data is not held in China. It also disputes accusations that it collects more user data than other social media companies, and insists that it is run independently by its own management.
Despite TikTok’s claims, many countries around the world remain cautious about the platform and its ties to China. Here are the countries and regions that have implemented partial or total bans on TikTok.
India India imposed a ban on TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps, including the messaging app WeChat, in 2020 over privacy and security concerns. The ban came shortly after a clash between Indian and Chinese troops at a disputed Himalayan border killed 20 Indian soldiers and injured dozens. The companies were given a chance to respond to questions on privacy and security requirements but the ban was made permanent in January 2021.
Taiwan In December 2022, Taiwan imposed a public sector ban on TikTok after the FBI warned that TikTok posed a national security risk. Government devices, including mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers, are not allowed to use Chinese-made software, which include apps like TikTok, its Chinese equivalent Douyin, or Xiaohongshu, a Chinese lifestyle content app.
United States: This week, the U.S. said that government agencies have 30 days to delete TikTok from federal devices and systems over data security concerns. The ban applies only to government devices, though some U.S. lawmakers are advocating an outright ban. China lashed out at the U.S. for banning TikTok, describing the ban as an abuse of state power and suppressing firms from other countries. More than half of the 50 U.S. states also have banned the app from government devices.
Canada: After the U.S. announcement, Canada on Monday announced government-issued devices must not use TikTok, saying that it presents an “unacceptable” risk to privacy and security. Employees will also be blocked from downloading the application in the future.
European Union: The European Parliament, European Commission and the EU Council, three top EU bodies, have imposed bans on TikTok on staff devices. The European Parliament's ban, announced Tuesday, takes effect on March 20. It has recommended lawmakers and staff remove the app from their personal devices.
Pakistan: Pakistani authorities have temporarily banned TikTok at least four times since October 2020, citing concerns that app promotes immoral content.
Afghanistan: Afghanistan's Taliban leadership banned TikTok and the Chinese game PUBG in 2022 on the grounds of protecting youths from "being misled."