Canada Becomes Latest Government to Ban TikTok for Officials

The ban follows the US, and EU Commission's decisions to remove the app from all government-owned devices.

Yet another country has decided to ban TikTok on official government devices, with Canada citing security concerns over the social media app.

The move follows others, such as the US, which has given its employees thirty days to remove the app from all government-owned equipment. The EU commission also announced similar measures last week.

ByteDance, owners of the social media platform, has accused these countries of not communicating properly with the company, and singling out TikTok unfairly.

Canada's TikTok Ban for Employees

On Monday, the Canadian government announced that it had taken the decision to ban the Chinese-owned social media app, TikTok, from government devices.

The government has stated that security concerns are behind the ban, citing issues with the company's data collection policies. While ByteDance has maintained that the platform is secure, leaks last year seemed to suggest that data from users in the West was viewable by Chinese employees. Chinese citizens have access to a separate version of TikTok, with stricter limitations and deeper levels of monitoring.

Canadian citizens are still free to download and use the app, although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did theorize that this action may make companies and individuals reconsider their use of the app.

“I suspect that as government takes the significant step of telling all federal employees that they can no longer use TikTok on their work phones, many Canadians from business to private individuals will reflect on the security of their own data and perhaps make choices.” – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

TikTok Bans so Far

Canada isn't the only country to insist that government officials cease using the TikTok app. The US government banned the social media platform last December, and last week issued a warning to all employees that they had 30 days to remove the app from government-owned devices.

The EU commission also took the step to ban the app, with workers being given until the 15th of March to remove scrub the app from devices.

“The measure aims to protect the Commission against cybersecurity threats and actions which may be exploited for cyberattacks against the corporate environment of the commission.” – EU spokeswoman Sonya Gospodinova

India was one of the first countries to ban TikTok, taking action in 2020 to remove it at the same time as a raft of other Chinese-owned apps, including Weibo and WeChat. However, unlike the EU, US and Canadian bans, the app was also banned for Indian citizens. At the time, the its userbase in the country was around 200 million.

TikTok Responds to Bans

ByteDance's response to the Canadian ban echoes its previous responses to these actions when taken by other countries. In a statement, the company complained that the move to ban the app was taken without any consultancy.

“We are always available to meet with our government officials to discuss how we protect the privacy and security of Canadians, but singling out TikTok in this way does nothing to achieve that shared goal.” – ByteDance company spokesperson

It also accused Canada of preventing “officials from reaching the public on a platform loved by millions of Canadians.”

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Written by:
Jack is the Deputy Editor for Tech.co. He has over 15 years experience in publishing, having covered both consumer and business technology extensively, including both in print and online. Jack has also led on investigations on topical tech issues, from privacy to price gouging. He has a strong background in research-based content, working with organisations globally, and has also been a member of government advisory committees on tech matters.
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