Last week, governments across Australia mandated that TikTok be deleted from their devices after receiving formal advice that the app carried a significant security risk to governments.
Here’s what you need to know.
Why is TikTok being banned from government devices in Australia?
Australia’s top security agencies advised the Attorney-General’s Department that TikTok carried a “significant protective security risk” to the Federal Government. It stems from data-sharing concerns between TikTok’s Chinese owners, ByteDance, and the Chinese Government.
Every Australian state and territory has now announced bans for TikTok on government devices.
Shadow Cyber Security Minister James Paterson welcomed the ban, saying the “threat posed by TikTok to the millions of other Australian users” should now be addressed.
Does this mean that TikTok is banned in Australia?
TikTok is not banned in Australia. It is only banned from being on government devices.
There are no restrictions on the general public’s use of TikTok in Australia. However, the Federal Government has encouraged Australians to “educate themselves” on the security and privacy risks associated with social media applications, including TikTok.
It also doesn’t mean that Australian politicians are banned from TikTok. They will just have to use the app from a personal device, rather than one issued by the government.
Which politicians are keeping TikTok?
Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, told TDA she doesn’t plan to delete TikTok “at this stage”. She said it is “always important to embrace effective ways to talk with different audiences”.
Labor backbencher Julian Hill, who has almost 150,000 TikTok followers, said he’ll also continue using the app from his personal device. He said “you have to meet Australians where they are, including online”.
South Australia Premier Peter Malinauskas also plans on keeping his account.
Have any Australian politicians deleted TikTok?
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said he will delete his personal TikTok account.
NSW Premier Chris Minns also deleted his account.
General Manager of TikTok Australia and New Zealand, Lee Hunter, said they were “extremely disappointed” by the government’s decision to ban TikTok on government devices. Hunter said the decision was “driven by politics, not by fact”.
They said they weren’t informed of the ban before it was publicly announced, and said there was “no evidence” to suggest TikTok was “in any way a security risk to Australians”.
“Our millions of Australian users deserve a government which makes decisions based upon facts and who treats all businesses fairly, regardless of country of origin.”