Australia followed fellow members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance by banning use of TikTok on government-issued devices, as concerns around how data is used by the social media platform intensify.
The nation’s decision was announced by attorney general Mark Dreyfus and means all members of the Five Eyes cybersecurity intelligence alliance have now restricted access to the app through full or partial bans on government devices.
Five Eyes comprises the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The nations are particularly concerned that TikTok’s Chinese owner Bytedance could be forced to hand over user data to China’s government, or the state may influence the content available.
In March, the US set a deadline of 30 days for TikTok to be deleted on government devices and systems, while Canada and the UK have made similar moves.
New Zealand banned the video-sharing app from devices linked to Parliament, while the European Union also issued a ban.
Dreyfus stated Australia’s ban on TikTok would cover all devices issued by government departments and agencies, and it had taken the decision due to advice from intelligence and security agencies.
Responding to the latest set back, GM of operations at TikTok Australia and New Zealand said the ban was driven by politics and there is no evidence to suggest the platform was a security risk
Along with government scrutiny, Italy’s competition regulator last month launched an investigation into TikTok’s European company in the Republic of Ireland and related units, alleging the social media company failed to adequately monitor third-party content.