More regions and organizations are implementing restrictions on TikTok usage, as concerns around the app, and its potential links to the Chinese government, continue to grow.
Today, Denmark’s public-service broadcaster has advised its staff to remove the app from their work phones, in response to a security review by Denmark’s Center for Cyber Security.
As per BBC:
“Journalists needing access to the app for research must now ask for permission to use what staff are calling special “TikTok phones”. [It’s] the first news organization to issue such advice.”
Various other public broadcasters are making use of TikTok to connect with younger audiences, and have not implemented restrictions as yet. But as security officials continue to sound the alarm, it seems inevitable that similar actions will follow, as more government-affiliated organizations set to reconsider their stance on the app.
The latest action adds to the growing list of TikTok bans, amid concerns around its potential exposure to the CCP.
The majority of these bans don’t stretch to the general public, but even so, the scale of these actions highlights the rising concerns about the app, as China continues to stand in defiance of global governments on various fronts.
Those include concerns around spying, like the recent alleged spy balloon that was shot down in the US, and ongoing intimidation tactics used by the Chinese military in Taiwan and other neighboring regions. There are also various reports which suggest that China is quietly offering support for Russia in its offensive against Ukraine, which could lead to a more significant conflict, particularly if China offers direct military support for the Russian push.
Within this increasingly tense atmosphere, TikTok is essentially caught in the middle, which could result in a full ban of the app, in many nations, if there’s any further escalation, on virtually any front.
It feels like that’s where things are placed. Right now, there’s no direct justification for a full ban, but it’s teetering on the edge, and one more spy balloon-type incident could be enough to see the app outlawed completely.
A lot also hinges on the upcoming appearance of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew before the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, in which Chew will be given the chance to communicate TikTok’s position directly to US policymakers. TikTok is working on various programs to appease both US and EU officials, and ensure local user data is separated from its Chinese parent company, but if there’s another incident, it may not be able to implement such quick enough, which, again, could lead to a ban.
So what are the chances of a full TikTok ban, on balance?
Again, it still feels like a drastic step, but the growing number of bans, aligned with increasing global tensions, does suggest that it could be close. Add to that lobbying by Meta in Washington, in order to encourage action against the app, and it seems like the cards are being stacked against the platform.
And just one more incident may be the final push needed.
Whether that happens, and whether Chew can convince US politicians that TikTok is safe, and in compliance with their demands, are the two things that will likely determine the next steps.
But it does seem to be much closer than ever, and trending in the wrong direction for the app.