Tech

TikTok and Other Chinese Social Media Apps Are Being Banned in Some Countries

The video-sharing app, owned by Beijing-based tech company ByteDance, has been plagued by user privacy concerns.
IMAGE UNSPLASH/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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The United States is reportedly looking at banning TikTok is several other Chinese social media apps, according to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And, it's just one of the many countries that are considering or have already taken steps to ban the app.

The video-sharing app, owned by Beijing-based tech company ByteDance, has been plagued by user privacy concerns in recent years. The app has been accused of being a threat to national security for its ties to China, but the claim has been denied by its U.S. office.

"TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S.," a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement. "We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked."

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The rise of TikTok has been hard to miss. In January, the app's revenue was projected to rise 310 percent with hundreds of millions of earnings across App Store and Google Play markets. During the quarantine, its popularity has skyrocketed even more.

TikTok, however, has other concerns and controversies aside from privacy. There have been issues with cyberbullying, propaganda, and even addiction concerns.

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In 2018, Indonesia became the first to ban the app—though temporarily—for spreading "pornography, inappropriate content, and blasphemy." Bangladesh followed suit months after Indonesia's short-lived ban, while several citizens have filed applications to block the app in Pakistan.

Late in June, India set a permanent ban on the app and 58 other Chinese social media apps. In a release, the Indian Ministry of Information Technology said these apps posed a threat to sovereignty and security for "stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers outside India."

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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