Australia: The government of Australia announced the removal of TikTok from all federal government-owned devices on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, over security concerns. It has become the latest US-allied nation to prompt action against the China-owned social media app.
The development shows increasing worries that China’s government could utilise the Beijing-based company, owned by ByteDance Ltd, to get users’ data in order to advance its political agenda while sabotaging Western security interests.
It risks the renewal of diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Canberra that have become better since the Labor government led by PM Anthony Albanese came back to power in May.
The ban will soon come into effect as soon as practicable, said Mark Dreyfus, the Attorney General. He added that exemptions would be given on a case-by-case basis and with suitable security measures in place.
With this by the Australian government, all members of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network consisting of Canada, Australia, Britain, the US and New Zealand banned the app from government devices. Similar bans have been announced by Belgium, France and the European Commission.
As per the sources, it was reported that Albanese had also agreed to a government-wide ban on the usage of the Chinese app TikTok after completing a review by the Home Affairs department.
Mark Dreyfus affirmed that the federal government had recently got the “Review into Foreign Interference via Social Media Applications” report and that its proposals stayed under consideration.
A short comment by the TikTok developers stated that it was “extremely disappointed” by this action of the Australian government, calling it driven by politics and not by facts.
Lee Hunter – TikTok’s Australia and New Zealand General Manager, said that there is no evidence which suggests that TikTok is in any way a type of security risk to Australians & should not be treated in any other way than other social media platforms.