The U.S. and Canada both issued orders this week banning the use of TikTok on government-issued mobile devices amid growing privacy and cybersecurity concerns about the Chinese-owned video-sharing app.
TikTok, owned by the larger tech company Bytedance, has long maintained that it does not and will not share data with the Chinese government and that its data is not held in China.
The company also disputes accusations that it collects more user data than other social media companies and insists that it’s run independently.
But many countries remain cautious, and Shawn Henry, chief security officer for the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, told CBS Mornings those concerns are “absolutely valid.”
“China wants to be the No. 1 superpower in the world and they have been targeting U.S. technology, U.S. personal information. They’ve been doing electronic espionage for several decades now,” Henry said.
Below is a look at the countries and regions that have implemented partial or total bans on TikTok so far:
Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers banned TikTok and the Chinese game PUBG in 2022 on the grounds of protecting young people from “being misled,” but like its neighbor Pakistan the country made no reference to security concerns.
Pakistani authorities have temporarily banned TikTok at least four times since October 2020, citing concerns that app promotes immoral content.
In December 2022, Taiwan imposed a public sector ban on TikTok after the FBI warned that TikTok posed a national security risk.
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.
After the U.S. announcement, Canada announced that government-issued devices must not use TikTok, saying the app presents an “unacceptable” risk to privacy and security.
Employees will also be blocked from downloading the application in the future.
The European Parliament’s ban took effect last March 20, 2023. It has been recommended that lawmakers and staff remove the app from their devices.
European legislators have also voiced increasing concern about the app’s data policies and its influence on young people.
Biden administration gave all government agency staff 30 days to delete TikTok from federal devices and systems over data security concerns.
The White House directive came after the U.S. Congress officially banned the app on all federal government devices in December.