These countries have banned TikTok on government devices

The public doesn’t matter for security apparently.

Due to TikTok’s Chinese origins, some Western countries, mostly those aligned with the United States, have banned the popular short-form video app on government devices, citing “security concerns” including allegations of espionage and how its parent company, Bytedance, is associated with the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

While the app is banned on government devices, the public can still use the app freely. So, as a consumer, this article may or may not affect you, depending on your own circumstances and experiences.


The United States is China’s primary economic and political competitor. Around December last year, the US Senate passed a legislation approving the ban of TikTok on government devices. Government officials have until the end of March to delete the app from their government-enrolled phones (however, they could still install the app on their personal phones).

More than half of the 50 US states have complied with this legislation. The US Senate, however, rejected the idea of banning the app altogether both in government and with the public. Both the FBI and the FCC warned that Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, could send sensitive information back to the Chinese government.

In addition, there is an on-going debate about whether TikTok harms the mental health of minors (because correlation = causation apparently, like with video games). In response, TikTok has implemented safeguards in place for minors, limiting the use of the app.


On April 4, Australia started banning TikTok on government devices as well, citing similar “security concerns”. The Attorney General’s Department further clarified this statement, saying that TikTok was collecting “extensive user data and exposure to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflicts with Australian law”.

In the notice, government entities are required to uninstall the application from their phones “unless a legitimate business reason exists which necessitates the installation or ongoing presence of the application”.

TikTok accused the Australian government that the move was politically motivated and had no basis. In a testimony, CEO Shou Zi Chew denied that TikTok and Bytedance are associated with the Chinese Communist Party and that the app does not share data with them.

The ban will come into effect “as soon as practicable” according to Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.

All five members of the so-called “Five Eyes Intelligence-sharing Network” have banned the app from government devices. These include Australia, Canada, the United States, Britain, and New Zealand.

Source: Reuters


As Canada has strong friendly relations with the United States, the country banned the app following a review by Canada’s Chief Information Officer for “presenting an unacceptable level of risk to security and privacy”. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, said these security reasons are enough to justify the change.

“This may be the first step, this may be the only step we need to take,” he said on Monday, February 28th, at a press conference near Toronto.

A TikTok spokesperson said the accusation was baseless. “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,” the spokesperson said.

Source: BBC


Employees of the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA) have banned its employees from installing the popular app on their government-issued phones in relation to similar “security concerns” as the aforementioned countries.

The ban took effect last June when the app was reaching its greatest peak of popularity in the country. RIA Cybersecurity Executive Director Tonu Tammer said “Looking at the available data, it is clear why the US sees it as a security threat. We also see problems. Evidence pointing to it being still waters that run deep is adding up,”.

Source: RepublicWorld


In a move similar to that of the United States and Australia, the United Kingdom finally joined the banning of the app on government devices over allegations of espionage and collection of data including location, phone content, and contacts, in which Oliver Dowden, the Cabinet Office Minister, used as justification for the ban.

The ban will take effect immediately on government-issued phones including those of civil servants and ministers. Personal phones will not be affected, however.

The ban worsened the bilateral relations between China and the United Kingdom. Just like with the Australian ban, A TikTok representative responded that the move was politically motivated.

Source: The Guardian


All three bodies of the EU—the EU Parliament, Council, and European Commission have banned TikTok on staff devices on the grounds of security. The ban took effect on March 20th. While the ban does not apply to personal devices, it was strongly advised to remove the app from their own personal phones as well.

Source: The CNN


Aside from TikTok, the government of France has actually also banned other “recreational” apps on government mobile phones such as Twitter, Instagram, and others on March 24th. Like the others, personal phones are not affected. The ban is effective immediately.

The government cited “insufficient security measures” as the main reason why the ban took place.

“In order to guarantee the cybersecurity of our administrations and civil servants, the government has decided to ban recreational applications such as TikTok on the professional phones of civil servants,” Stanislas Guerini, Ministry of Public Sector Transformation and Civil Service said.

He cited that these apps do not have strong enough security in order for them to be used on administrators’ equipment but also made an exemption if these apps are needed for specific professional reasons.

Source: Al Jazeera


In a similar move as with other countries, the Dutch government has decided to ban TikTok on government phones altogether on March 21 and also discouraged the use of apps on work phones from countries that harm the interests of the Dutch government.

Among the countries listed include Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran. These countries are accused to have a high risk of espionage.

At the same time, Belgium banned the app as well for similar reasons.


The Norwegian Parliament (Storting), has joined the rest of Europe in banning the app TikTok on government devices on March 24. Aside from TikTok, the encrypted messaging app Telegram was also banned in the same manner.

Ministers and officials are no longer allowed to use these apps for government purposes.

“The Presidency has today decided that the apps TikTok and Telegram are not allowed to be installed on devices with access to the Storting’s systems. The decision is in line with NSM’s recommendation. In addition, the administration has made its own assessments,” Masud Gharahkhani, President of the Storting, announced.

After that, they immediately advised officials to remove the app as fast as possible. Employees with access to parliamentary systems are also requested to uninstall them.

Source: The Local Norwegian


TikTok has been banned on government devices at a federal level on March 10th, as announced by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, citing severe risks due to how much data TikTok is storing and collecting from users. The app is owned by Chinese conglomerate Bytedance. He also cited that the app is required to comply with the Chinese Intelligence services. “That is the reality,” he said in a statement.

Source: Reuters


The Danish Defense Ministry has barred its employees from using the short-form video-sharing app TikTok on their work phones as a cybersecurity measure. The ministry has cited similar security and privacy concerns as the rest of Europe as the app collects a tremendous amount of data from users and concerns that these data are being used by the Chinese Communist Party as a form of espionage.

The country’s Center for Cybersecurity has also cited that the app asks for “certain right and access on the device.”

If the app was uninstalled, then employees are required to immediately uninstall it. Of course, personal phones are not affected.

Source: AP News


The New Zealand parliament has banned the app on all work devices citing security concerns and accusations of espionage, following an e-mail.

“The decision to block the TikTok application has been made based on our own analysis and following discussion with our colleagues across government and internationally,” the email reads.

The decision is very similar to rulings made by its allies like the United States, Canada, and Australia. As always, the ban does not apply to personal phones. However, unlike their allies, the ban is only applied to the 500 members of the parliament, not all government employees.

Source: The Guardian


A series of clashes within the India-China dispute led to the country banning a series of Chinese apps, including that of PUBG Mobile and its Indian variant. The former is owned by Chinese conglomerate Tencent, a media company that also owns a series of games like League of Legends Wild Rift and Pokemon Unite.

TikTok was on this list of banned Chinese apps of course. Aside from the usual espionage allegations, the ban was, as the government called it, a “digital strike” after 20 Indian troops were killed during the skirmishes.

Unlike the rest of the countries mentioned here, the ban applies to the public as well. Many of these apps are no longer available in Google Play and Apple App Store.

Currently, there are about 118 Chinese apps banned by the government and will continue to rise so as long the two countries have a standoff within their borders.

Source: Nikkei Asia (may be paywalled)


In December 2022, Taiwan banned the app TikTok after the FBI warned them about its posed security risks. However, according to the Taipei Times, this decision may be delayed as the government is “examining the feasibility of such a measure.”

It’s not just TikTok, the country is currently studying the effects of Chinese social media apps on national security. And even so, the Ministry of Education said that the app could be used by Beijing to spread disinformation across the island state, and may also negatively affect the well-being of Taiwanese children.

Source: The Taipei Times


The government of Pakistan has banned TikTok for the fourth time, not due to security concerns but due to “immoral content”. The country is a close ally of China. The ban has been in-effect since October 2020 after the government received complaints about “inappropriate and indecent content” on the platform.

Source: The Hindustan Times


The current ruling government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban, has banned several apps which they touted as “misleading the youths”. The country’s government is unrecognized by almost all UN states and has been deemed a totalitarian state.

It’s not just apps like TikTok and PUBG Mobile that were banned, but also any form of media that the government finds inappropriate. While the government promised softer rule, several reports tell that the country has severely decreased freedoms, especially towards women.

Source: BBC