Agencies expected to soon ditch app.
The social media app TikTok has 7 million monthly users in Australia and more than 1 billion worldwide — double the amount of those found of Snapchat and Twitter.
But it seems that Western nations have indeed now had enough of this app taking the world by storm.
Home Affairs Minister, Clare O’Neill, is expected to announce a ban of the app’s use with more than 20 Australian government agencies, over what they say are security risks to the nation.
Current Government Services and NDIS Minister Bill Shorten said it was a “serious issue”.
“The government is reviewing the social media platforms,” he told the Today Show.
He insisted no formal ban was in place, but said he had taken TikTok off his own government-issued phone.
Beijing has historically reacted poorly when a western government has reacted to security concerns around the app, claiming bans are an overreaction, while social media content creators in Australia are voicing their concerns regarding the moves.
Cyber security expert, Susan McLean, said the app was simply “not safe to use”.
“Politicians really need to step up to the plate and start to use more legitimate, if you like, platforms where the security of the nation is not going to be compromised by their use.“
The moves were prompted by growing concerns that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, would give user data such as browsing history and location to the Chinese government, or push propaganda and misinformation on its behalf.
The company has insisted such concerns are based on “misinformation” and said it was taking steps to boost protection of user data from the U.K. and Europe.
“We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok and our millions of users in the UK, play no part,” the company said.
In 2021, Australia was the first country to ban China from our 5G network, setting a precedent for others, including the U.S., Japan, India, New Zealand and more.
McLean said the company was good at “propaganda” but did not “walk the walk” when it came to data protection.
Tiktok is one of the most popular social media platforms of the moment, and it’s had something of a meteoric rise in the past few years — no doubt thanks to the endless time we suddenly had on our hands during the height of the COVID-19 ‘pandemic’.
But just how did Tiktok get to where it is today?
In 2014, Musical.ly was introduced as a platform mainly for sharing lip-syncing videos.
In 2017, Chinese internet technology company ByteDance acquired Musical.ly and less than a year later, renamed it TikTok.
Since being acquired by ByteDance, it has been plagued with rumours and concerns around its handling of user data and privacy.
Most are not aware of a plethora of inappropriate content on TikTok. Suggestive material and pornography are two examples, but you can imagine the wide range of videos users can create that you may not want your kids viewing.
This is despite the fact they claim to ban content like this.
At the same time, so-called ‘conspiracy’ content does very well on the website, not typically held down by restrictive WHO-driven measures enforced on other websites like Facebook and Instagram.
There are further concerns that ByteDance isn’t as neutral or independent of the Chinese government as it claims to be, and that the government could have access to the swathes of data amassed by the app.
McLean said the company, being based in China, was “beholden” to the Chinese government.
“If you need to go to the degree of having a burner phone to use Tiktok, that should ring alarm bells with you and I am concerned that it doesn’t,” she said in regards to Shorten’s comments.
This is due to a law implemented by the Chinese government in 2017, which requires companies to offer up data to the government that could be relevant to national security.
The same concerns recently underpin the decision to remove Chinese-made surveillance cameras from defence facilities.
Now, certain Western governments are convinced that the Chinese government is “beyond doubt” connected to TikTok, and are as such moving to instigate bans of TikTok usage in certain scenarios.
It seems, regardless of whether or not there are genuine surveillance concerns, authorities are using this play as just another piece in the hype for more war hoax propaganda.
Australian and Chinese defence officials met this afternoon in their first formal meeting since 2019.
Perhaps it was to plan the path to overlay the Chinese experiment in the West even further via war theatre.
Do you use Tiktok? Could this end up ‘pushing tensions more’?
May we possibly see a total ban that applies to civilian phones as well?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
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