Calls to ban a popular social media app from Australian government devices are gaining influence after the White House backed a similar push in the US.
A growing number of government departments have banned TikTok amid concerns about its owner ByteDance’s ties with the Chinese government.
FBI director Christopher Wray told a US Senate hearing overnight the app “screams” of security concerns.
He added the Chinese government could use the viral video app to control software on millions of devices.
The government has been urged to ban the app. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
“We’re not sure that we would see many of the outward signs of it happening if it was happening,” Mr Wray added.
Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said on Thursday the government should act to ban the app on government-issued phones.
“We should not have access to that on our phones and we should be very closely monitoring the data that has been collected so far from those individuals who do have TikTok on their devices,” she told Sky News.
“That’s the first step. But there really needs to be some serious investigation work done.”
An investigation by the Home Affairs department into social media platforms is expected to be reported back within weeks.
The FBI has warned about the app’s access to user data. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
It’s understood the review will not be considering a board ban of any social media apps for the everyday Australian, but whether it is appropriate to implement such a rule for government devices.
In a statement, a spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil stressed the probe would not solely focus on TikTok.
“The Minister for Home Affairs is conducting a review of all social media platforms and she will consider the recommendations of that review once it is finalised.”
TikTok Australia has previously cautioned against using the app as a political football.
“We are proud of our heritage and it’s important to note that we operate no differently to other global companies and claims to the contrary are unsubstantiated by evidence,” director of public policy Ella Woods-Joyce wrote in a submission to the Senate.