TikTok is PROHIBITED in Australia due to concerns that the Chinese app poses a risk to national security
The Australian government is facing calls to ban TikTok over concerns that the social media platform is a national security threat and that users’ data may be shared with China.
The popular video app, owned by the Chinese company Bytedance, is used by more than 1.6 million Australians.
A federal MP has revealed plans to introduce TikTok to the Foreign Interference through the Senate investigation of Social Media, fearing that it will collect data and store the information on Chinese servers.
The Australian government is facing calls to ban TikTok over concerns that it is a national security threat that could share user data with the Chinese government (stock image)
The MP said TikTok has flown under the radar in Australia and should be taken seriously as an attempt by the Chinese Communist Party (the flag depicted) to collect data
The unnamed MP said that TikTok has flown under the radar in Australia and should be considered an attempt to collect data by the Chinese Communist Party.
“It may be dressed differently, but it is the same beast,” said the MP Herald Sun..
According to the MP, several MPs are urging the app to be banned, arguing that it poses a greater threat than the Chinese messaging app WeChat.
Commission President Senator Jenny McAllister said TikTok must comply with the request to be picked up before the Senate investigation, as Australians will expect a response from the company.
“Part of the job of this committee is to get all those stakeholders in the room and create a forum where we can have a really good discussion about what the boundaries are, what is and what is not acceptable in this kind of thing, Mrs. McAllister said.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- Users post videos of themselves and broadcast them through the app
- Anyone can find and comment on these videos
- You can also send that person private messages
- Some of the most popular videos are viewed over 10 million times
- Each TikTok video is generally 15 to 60 seconds long
- The videos are usually set to music and often show the user dancing, doing a trick or lip sync
Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Fergus Ryan said TikTok was full of mass surveillance and propaganda.
The app also censored all anti-Chinese views and had the option to send information directly to Beijing, Ryan said.
He said it was “no doubt” that the Chinese Communist Party held the data, as there are members of the party within the company.
Kimberley Kitching, a member of the Foreign Interference Committee, said Australians don’t understand what apps like TikTok do with their personal information.
Given that there is credible evidence to suggest that TikTok users’ data has been sent back to servers in China where it can then be analyzed and used by authorities to identify and build profiles to track users, perfectly suited for senior representatives of that company to appear before the committee to answer questions about this, “said the Senator of Labor.
Liberal MP and Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee Andrew Hastie in February claimed the app posed a threat to national security.
“China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law means that the Chinese government can compel companies to share information with them,” he told ABC at 7:30 a.m.
“So I doubt our information is safe when it is owned by Chinese companies.”
TikTok is a Chinese social media app that allows users to stream live, create short videos and music videos and gifs with a myriad of features. Picture: a video shared by soldiers
In January, TikTok was banned from all Australian Defense Force personnel for security fears.
Mr. Hastie, who has served in the ADF and is a vocal critic of the Chinese state, said he was concerned that users’ information such as their name, age and location would be accessible to the Chinese Communist Party.
“TikTok is largely used by teenagers, but they are our future leaders … and we need to protect their information in the long run,” he said.
Liberal MP Andrew Hastie (pictured) slammed the app in February as a threat to national security
The 37-year-old father also expressed his fear of his own children and said, “I certainly don’t want my children’s data going abroad, which they may use for disgraceful purposes.”
TikTok is the international version of the Chinese app Douyin, where users can create and upload short videos and gifs with numerous functions.
The app asks users to access their phone’s camera, list of microphone contacts, and location when they sign in.
The company says it stores its data in the U.S. and Singapore, not China, but experts fear it will still be accessible to the Chinese state.
Users of the app, which is now more popular than Snapchat, only need to be 13 years old to sign up – and can be contacted by anyone unless they make their profile private.
Even then, anyone can request to look at their photos and videos and even pretend to be another child.
A TikTok Australia spokeswoman said there is constant work to ensure that the information on the app is safe.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted TikTok for comment.
WHAT IS TIK TOK?
TikTok is a Chinese social media app that allows users to stream live, create short videos and music videos and gifs with a myriad of features.
TikTok’s slogan is ‘Make every second count’.
It was the most downloaded app in the US in 2018 and the world’s fourth most downloaded app in 2018, ahead of Instagram and Snapchat.
TikTok is known in China as Douyin, where it launched in 2016 and then made more widely available worldwide in 2017.
Douyin is still the version of the app used in China that can be downloaded separately to TikTok.
Last year, the app was merged with the popular music video lip sync app Musical.ly, also headquartered in China.
Most kids use the app to film themselves lip sync to chart hits.
It provides users with a variety of colorful modification and editing tools, including overlapping music, sound, animated stickers, filters and augmented reality (AR) for creating short videos.
The Beijing-based social network has over 500 million active users and the company is now worth over $ 75 billion (£ 58 billion).