Hard days for the TikTok video-sharing app are not coming to an end. Following India’s ban of the app and the US looking at a potential ban, Australia, too, has expressed its concern about the possible threat to data privacy from the app.
Australia is scrutinizing the popular Chinese-owned social media app for any threats it may present to users from possible foreign interference and data privacy concerns, according to government sources.
Owned by Bytedance, the popular platform has been accused of sharing user data with the Chinese government.
TikTok had opened its office in Australia very recently and according to sources, this was followed by both the Home Affairs and the Attorney General ‘s Offices of the country discussing the activities of TikTok.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was “taking a close look” at TikTok, which also came under U.S. “internal security threats” scrutiny and was banned along with 59 other Chinese apps in India.
Mr. Morrison had been clear that “if we consider there is a need to take further action than we are taking now, then I can tell you we won’t be shy about it.”
Separately, Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, chairwoman of the Parliamentary Study on foreign interference via social media, described TikTok as requiring more scrutiny pointing out that 1.6 million young Australians were using the app.
Lee Hunter, TikTok Australia’s general manager wrote to Australian politicians saying that TikTok was “being used as a political football.” Mr. Hunter was hired by Google in June.
The letter clarified that “it is critical to understand that we (TikTok) are independent and not aligned with any government, political party or ideology.” Through the letter, he also assured that TikTok Australia’s data was stored in Singapore and the United States securely.