Which countries have banned TikTok and why?

The UK and New Zealand are the latest to join the growing list of countries that have recently issued orders banning the use of TikTok on government-issued devices amid growing concerns about the app’s privacy and security.

The European Union, United States, Denmark, Belgium, and Canada also recently issued orders banning the use of banned TikTok. Experts fear that downloading the app could reveal sensitive information, especially on government devices.

Chinese company Bytedance’s video-sharing platform has long maintained that it does not share user data with the Chinese government and that it operates independently.

TikTok denies accusations of collecting more user data than other social media companies, calling the bans “basic misinformation‘ said these were decided without ‘deliberation or evidence’.

However, many countries remain wary of the platform and its ties to China. Western tech companies, including Airbnb, Yahoo and LinkedIn, have also left or scaled down operations in China because Beijing’s strict privacy law dictates how companies can collect and store data.

Here are the countries and regions that have already partially or fully banned the app.

The UK

On March 16, Oliver Dowden, the UK Foreign Secretary in the Cabinet Office, announced an immediate ban of the app on official government devices in a statement to the UK House of Commons.

“This is a precautionary step. We know that TikTok already has limited usage across government, but it’s also good cyber hygiene,” the minister said in his address to MPs.

The ban is based on a report by the UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Centre, which found that “there could be a risk in how sensitive government data is being accessed and used by certain platforms”.

Although Britain was one of the first countries to ban the use of other Chinese technologies like Huawei, critics slammed the delay in banning TikTok compared to allies.

EU institutions

The European Parliament, European Commission and EU Council, the EU’s top three bodies, have all banned TikTok on personal devices, citing cybersecurity concerns.

The ban announced by the European Parliament on Tuesday will come into force on March 20. It “strongly recommended” that MPs and staff also remove the app from their personal devices.

New Zealand

New Zealand was the latest country to announce on March 17 that TikTok will be banned from government legislature phones in late March 2023.

Unlike in other countries like Britain, the ban does not affect all government employees and only applies to around 500 people in Parliament buildings.

Parliamentary Services director-general Rafael Gonzalez-Montero said officials could make special arrangements if they need TikTok to carry out their democratic duties.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said he doesn’t have TikTok on his phone, adding: “I’m not that hip and trendy”.


Last week, Belgium announced it would ban TikTok from devices owned or paid for by the Belgian federal government for at least six months amid concerns over cybersecurity, privacy and misinformation, the country’s prime minister said.

In response to Belgium’s announcement, TikTok said it was “disappointed with this suspension based on fundamental misinformation about our company,” adding that they “are already available to meet with officials to address concerns and.” clear up misunderstandings”.


On March 6, the Danish Ministry of Defense announced that it would “ban the use of the app on official units” as a cybersecurity measure.

In a statement, the ministry said the Scandinavian country’s center for cybersecurity – which is part of Denmark’s foreign intelligence agency – had determined that there was a risk of espionage.

The department said “there were serious security considerations within the Department of Defense combined with a very limited work-related need to use the app,” and that employees “needed to uninstall TikTok on duty phones and other official devices as soon as possible if they have previously installed it.” “.

United States

Also this month, the US said government agencies have 30 days to wipe TikTok from federal devices and systems over data security concerns. The ban only applies to government devices, although some US lawmakers advocate an outright ban.

More than half of the 50 US states have also banned the app for government devices.

Both the FBI and the Federal Communications Commission have warned that ByteDance could share TikTok user data with China’s authoritarian government.

There are also concerns about TikTok’s content and whether it is harmful to teens’ mental health. Researchers at the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate said in a December report that eating disorder content amassed 13.2 billion views on the platform.

According to the Pew Research Center, around two-thirds of US teenagers use TikTok.


Following the US announcement, Canada also announced that government-issued devices would not be allowed to use TikTok, citing it as an “unacceptable” risk to privacy and security.

Employees will also be blocked from downloading the application in the future.


In 2020, India imposed a ban on TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps, including messaging app WeChat, over privacy and security concerns. The ban came shortly after a clash between Indian and Chinese troops at a disputed Himalayan border that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and dozens wounded.

The companies had the opportunity to respond to questions about privacy and security requirements, but the ban was made permanent in January 2021.


In December 2022, Taiwan imposed a public sector ban on TikTok after the FBI warned that TikTok posed a national security risk.

Government devices, including mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers, are banned from using Chinese-made software, which includes apps like TikTok, its Chinese equivalent Douyin, or Xiaohongshu, a Chinese lifestyle app.


Pakistani authorities have temporarily banned TikTok at least four times since October 2020, citing concerns that the app promotes immoral content.


Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership banned TikTok and the game PUBG 2022 on the grounds of protecting youth from “deception”.

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