‘Dangerous’: Barnaby’s anti-TikTok tirade

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Australians should be wary of the “intrusive and dangerous” viral video app TikTok, Barnaby Joyce has warned.

The former deputy prime minister said he held concerns the Chinese-owned app had the ability to watch you watch it.

“I don’t have TikTok on mine and, as it’s a Chinese platform, undoubtedly, as you’re watching it, someone’s watching you or at least taking into account the data that you use and how you use it,” he told Seven.

“That gives it immense power, especially around election time, especially around issues of knowing even with the GPS on your phone, if they can do it, they can work out where you are.

Barnaby Joyce revealed he didn’t have the app on his phone. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary RamageBarnaby Joyce revealed he didn’t have the app on his phone. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

“We’ve also heard in the past that they can have the capacity to actually watch you through your own camera.

“Now, that’s not for everybody, but for the ones that they think they’re very interested in, and this is incredibly intrusive and incredibly dangerous.”

An investigation by the Home Affairs department into social media platforms is expected to be handed back to minister Clare O’Neil in the coming weeks.

It’s understood the review will not be considering a broad ban of any social media apps for the everyday Australian and follows months of debate on whether the app should be allowed on government-issued devices.

A growing number of government departments have banned TikTok amid concerns about its owner ByteDance’s ties with the Chinese government.

Calls to ban the app are gaining steam. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Tim PascoeCalls to ban the app are gaining steam. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Tim Pascoe

Last week, FBI director Christopher Wray warned a US senate hearing that the Chinese government could use the viral video app to control software on millions of devices.

Belgium is the latest country to ban the app from government phones over cybersecurity concerns following action from Europe and the US.

TikTok is the first social media hit to come out of China and boasts more than one billion active users globally.

In Australia, it was the third most-downloaded app in 2021 with an estimated reach of more than seven million people.

ByteDance was last year issued a please explain after reports uncovered evidence company engineers in China repeatedly accessed US consumer data.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said it was important that people knew what they were signing up for when they downloaded apps like TikTok.

“With most of these apps, if it’s for free and it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. You don’t get anything for nothing these days,” she said.

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