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US To Ban TikTok If ByteDance Fails To Divest: Here's A List Of Countries Where TikTok Is Already Banned And Why!

As TikTok faces mounting pressure from US authorities, a new legislation threatens a nationwide ban unless its China-based parent company, ByteDance, divests. Concerns over privacy and cybersecurity have led to bans or restrictions on TikTok in several countries globally. Here is a list of all the countries that have partial or total bans on TikTok.

TikTok Banned Photo: Getty Images

US authorities have TikTok in their sights, with new legislation threatening a nationwide ban unless its China-based parent company, ByteDance, divests. This poses a significant challenge to the popular video-sharing platform, which has already encountered restrictions globally.

TikTok faces bans in several countries and is prohibited on government-issued devices in others, amid concerns over privacy and cybersecurity. These apprehensions are echoed in the US bill, reflecting bipartisan worries in Washington about potential Chinese government influence on user data and content.

TikTok has consistently asserted that it does not share data with the Chinese government and its CEO has taken a defiant stance, pledging to resist and fight back.

Here are all the countries that have partial or total bans on TikTok:

1. India

In 2020, India implemented a ban on TikTok due to security apprehensions following an altercation with neighboring China. The ban was formally enacted in January 2021.

In June 2020, tensions escalated between the two nations following the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a border confrontation with Chinese troops in the Himalayas. As a response, India declared a ban on over 50 Chinese applications, including TikTok and the messaging platform WeChat. According to Forbes, TikTok boasted approximately 150 million monthly active users in India, making it its largest international market at the time.

2. Nepal

Last year, Nepal declared a ban on TikTok. The Minister of Communications and Information Technology of the country stated that the app had been regularly used to distribute content that disrupts social cohesion. This decision followed the Nepalese cabinet's introduction of guidelines aimed at regulating social media platforms.

3. European Union

Last year, the top policymaking bodies of the European Union, including the European Parliament, European Commission, and European Council, prohibited TikTok's usage on staff mobile devices. The European Commission stated that this action aimed to safeguard against cybersecurity risks and potential exploitation for cyberattacks. Additionally, government personnel in several of the bloc's 27 member states, such as Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands, received instructions not to utilize TikTok on their official mobile phones.

4. Canada

In February 2023, Canada prohibited TikTok from all government-issued smartphones, following similar actions taken by the United States and the European Union. The Canadian government attributed its decision to a thorough evaluation of the app, concluding that it posed an unacceptable degree of risk to privacy and security. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau characterized the ban as a potential "initial measure," but also indicated that it might be the sole action required by the government.

5. Britain

Last year, Britain declared a ban on TikTok for government ministers' and civil servants' devices, with officials highlighting concerns about the security of state information. Subsequently, the British Parliament also implemented a ban on TikTok for devices and electronics linked to its network. Prior to this decision, the British Prime Minister stated that the country would consider the actions of its allies while evaluating the app's usage on government devices.

6. Australia

Last year, Australia prohibited TikTok from all devices owned by the federal government following consultations with intelligence and security agencies. In April, the directive stated that officials had concluded that “the installation of the TikTok application on government devices poses a significant protective security risk.”

7. Taiwan

In 2022, Taiwan implemented a ban on TikTok for government devices. According to reports from Taiwanese media, officials justified the ban in the public sector by citing national cybersecurity concerns. Additionally, authorities contemplated a potential nationwide ban amid escalating tensions with Beijing, although no definitive decisions were reached.

8. New Zealand

In March 2023, legislators in New Zealand reached a consensus to prohibit TikTok on mobile devices connected to the country's parliamentary network. Officials cited cybersecurity worries and noted that certain exceptions would be granted for individuals requiring TikTok access for work-related reasons. The New Zealand government stated that these decisions were informed by internal expert assessments and consultations with counterparts both domestically and internationally.

9. Pakistan

In recent years, Pakistani authorities have intermittently imposed temporary bans on TikTok, only to later rescind their rulings. In a case from 2021, a court ordered the app's suspension following complaints regarding "immoral and indecent content," as reported by the Associated Press. However, this block was lifted less than a month later.

10. Afghanistan

In 2022, the Taliban declared a prohibition on TikTok in order to “prevent the younger generation from being misled,” as reported by the BBC. Although the ban was enforced, users have discovered methods to circumvent the restrictions by utilizing VPNs, as outlined in a report by Wired.

11. Indonesia

In 2018, Indonesia imposed a temporary ban on TikTok due to concerns such as "pornography, inappropriate content, and blasphemy." The ban was rescinded in less than a week after the app agreed to implement censorship measures on some of its content.

12. Somalia

In August 2023, Somalia's communications minister announced intentions to limit access to TikTok, Telegram, and the online gambling site 1xBet, citing worries about the dissemination of "explicit content" and “a detrimental impact" on the youth.

The minister instructed internet service providers to cease operations of these platforms, alleging that they were being utilized by “terrorists and immoral groups to spread constant horrific images and misinformation to the public,” as per Reuters.

13. Belgium

Last month, the National Security Council made the decision to impose an indefinite ban on TikTok on devices either owned or financed by the federal government. Initially implemented as a temporary measure last year due to concerns regarding cybersecurity, privacy, and misinformation, this decision was prompted by alerts issued by the country's state security service and cybersecurity center, according to Prime Minister Alexander de Croo.

14. Denmark

Denmark's Defense Ministry has prohibited its employees from using TikTok on their work phones, instructing those who have already installed the app to promptly uninstall it from their devices. The ministry cited significant security concerns and noted “very limited work-related need to use the app” as the primary reasons for the ban.

15. France

The French government has implemented a ban on the "recreational" use of TikTok and other social media applications such as Twitter and Instagram on government employees' phones. This action stems from concerns regarding inadequate data security measures. While specific apps were not mentioned, the decision follows similar measures taken by other governments against TikTok.

16. Latvia

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics announced via Twitter that he has deleted his TikTok account, further stating that the app is banned from official smartphones used by the foreign ministry.

17. Netherlands

The Dutch central government has enforced a ban on certain apps, including TikTok, on employee work phones due to concerns regarding data security. Although TikTok was not explicitly mentioned in the government statement, civil servants are advised against installing and using apps “from countries with an offensive cyber program against the Netherlands and/or Dutch interests installed and used on their mobile work devices.”

18. Norway

Following a warning from the country's Justice Ministry, the Norwegian parliament has implemented a ban on TikTok on work devices issued to government employees. The Speaker of Parliament emphasized that TikTok should not be present on devices with access to the assembly's systems and urged for its swift removal. Additionally, both the capital city Oslo and the second largest city Bergen have urged municipal employees to uninstall TikTok from their work phones.

19. United States

Government agencies in the US have been instructed to remove TikTok from federal devices and systems due to data security concerns, as ordered by authorities. Additionally, over half of the 50 US states, along with Congress and the US armed forces, have banned the app from official devices. However, attempts to implement a statewide ban in Montana and a proposal in Virginia to restrict children from using the app were unsuccessful.