The Australian government announced on Tuesday (April 4) that TikTok would be uninstalled from all federal government devices for security reasons.
Australia’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said in a statement on Monday (3rd) that the ban would come into effect “as soon as practicable”.
Exemptions would be made on a case-by-case basis and would only be granted in compliance with appropriate safety measures, he said.
Following the announcement by the Australian government, all members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, including Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, banned TikTok. France, Belgium and the European Commission have taken similar steps.
It underscores growing concern in the West that the Chinese government could use Beijing-based ByteDance to harvest user data to advance its political agenda, at the expense of Western security interests.
TikTok was “very disappointed” with the Australian government’s decision, saying it was “driven by politics and not based on facts”.
“There is no evidence that TikTok poses a safety risk to Australians in any way and TikTok and other social media platforms should not be treated differently,” Lee Hunter, general manager of TikTok Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.
TikTok’s parent company is the Chinese company ByteDance.
The Australian (The Australian) reported on Monday night that Prime Minister Albanese agreed to a government-wide ban on TikTok after the Home Affairs Department completed a review. Dreyfus earlier confirmed that the Australian federal government had recently received reports of “censorship of foreign interference through social media applications”.