To ban or not to ban: Australian government seeks advice on TikTok

The Australian government is looking to the nation’s top security agencies to determine if any actions should be taken against popular social media app TikTok.

Mar 01, 2023, updated Mar 01, 2023

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government and security agencies were aware of the White House’s decision to issue a new directive giving all US federal agencies 30 days to wipe the app off government devices.

Questions have been raised about the Chinese-owned social media app’s surreptitious data collection methods.

Chalmers said the government hasn’t yet been advised to take the same action as its US counterparts, but it would act on the recommendations of security agencies.

“We’ll take the advice of our national security agencies,” he told ABC TV.

“But the advice to us hasn’t yet changed.”

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil last year ordered her department to investigate how TikTok harvests data following concerns China can access the personal information of Australians.

O’Neil has asked national security agencies to provide a range of options to tackle data collection by social media giants.

China has hit back at the US, saying it firmly opposed the action.

“How unsure of itself can the world’s top superpower be to fear a young people’s favourite app like that?” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

“The US has been over-stretching the concept of national security and abusing state power to suppress foreign companies.

“The US government should respect the principles of market economy and fair competition … and provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies.”


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