Canada has decided to ban video app TikTok from all government-issued devices, effective from Tuesday. The move comes after the country’s chief information officer reviewed the app and found it posed an “unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security”, according to a government spokesperson.
Canadian privacy regulators are also investigating the app over concerns about user data. A recent survey by researchers at the Social Media Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University found that approximately a quarter of Canadian adults use TikTok. The app will be removed from government-issued phones this week, and other devices will be blocked from downloads in the future.
TikTok has faced criticism over its use of personal information and ties to the Chinese government. The app is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance Ltd.
The company has previously said that Chinese government officials do not have access to user data and that a Chinese version of the app is separate from the one used in the rest of the world. However, it admitted last year that some staff in China could access the data of European users.
The US banned federal employees from using TikTok in late 2020, and on Monday, the White House gave government agencies 30 days to remove the app from their systems. A number of US universities have also banned the app from being used on their networks.
The European Commission announced a similar ban last week, which is set to come into force on 15 March. A TikTok spokesperson said the company was “disappointed” by Canada’s decision and that the ban on government-issued devices happened “without citing any specific security concerns about TikTok or contacting us to discuss any concern prior to making this decision”.