Where is TikTok already banned?

China EU TikTok (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
China EU TikTok (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The UK government has pushed for a ban on TikTok on official devices following a review by the National Cyber Security Centre.

The ban, announced on Thursday, will allow ministers and officials to use the Chinese-owned app on their personal phones. A Chinese embassy spokesperson accused the UK government of acting “based on its political motive rather than facts”.

TikTok is already banned from many government devices in the US and elsewhere.

The bans come amid increasing concern about the privacy and security of the app, which critics argue could be passing personal information to the Chinese government through its owner Bytedance.

TikTok has previously argued that it does not share data with the Chinese government and that its data is not held in China. It also disputes accusations that it collects more user data than other social media companies, and insists that it is run independently by its own management.

Following Thursday’s order, TikTok said it was “disappointed” with the decision that it claimed was based on “fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics”.

Despite TikTok’s claims, many countries around the world remain cautious about the platform and its ties to China. Here are the countries and regions that have implemented partial or total bans on TikTok.

New Zealand: New Zealand on Friday became the latest country to impose restrictions on TikTok, announcing its ban on all devices with access to the country’s parliament. The decision was taken following the advice of cybersecurity experts and after discussions with government officials.

UK: The UK government banned the app on government phones over concerns that sensitive data held on official phones could be accessed by the Chinese government. The Cabinet Office said the ban was being imposed because TikTok users are required to hand over data including contacts, user content and geolocation data.

India: India imposed a ban on TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps, including the messaging app WeChat, in 2020 over privacy and security concerns. The ban came shortly after a clash between Indian and Chinese troops at a disputed Himalayan border killed 20 Indian soldiers and injured dozens. The companies were given a chance to respond to questions on privacy and security requirements but the ban was made permanent in January 2021.

Taiwan: In December 2022, Taiwan imposed a public sector ban on TikTok after the FBI warned that TikTok posed a national security risk. Government devices, including mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers, are not allowed to use Chinese-made software, which include apps like TikTok, its Chinese equivalent Douyin, or Xiaohongshu, a Chinese lifestyle content app.

United States: The US ban applies only to government devices, though some US lawmakers are advocating an outright ban. China lashed out at the US for banning TikTok, describing the ban as an abuse of state power and suppressing firms from other countries. More than half of the 50 US states also have banned the app from government devices.

Canada: After the US announcement, Canada announced government-issued devices must not use TikTok, saying that it presents an “unacceptable” risk to privacy and security. Employees will also be blocked from downloading the application in the future.

European Union: The European Parliament, European Commission and the EU Council, three top EU bodies, have imposed bans on TikTok on staff devices. The European Parliament's ban, announced Tuesday, takes effect on March 20. It has recommended lawmakers and staff remove the app from their personal devices.

Pakistan: Pakistani authorities have temporarily banned TikTok at least four times since October 2020, citing concerns that app promotes immoral content.

Afghanistan: Afghanistan's Taliban leadership banned TikTok and the Chinese game PUBG in 2022 on the grounds of protecting youths from "being misled."

Additional reporting by Associated Press