TikTok Australia refutes suggestions of government-issued ban

The suggestion came from an unnamed MP, cited in the 'Herald Sun'

TikTok’s Australian branch has said suggestions the Federal Government is looking into banning the app aren’t credible.

As reported by news.com.au, TikTok Australia’s general manager Lee Hunter responded to a story run by the Herald Sun on Monday (July 6) which said the Federal Government is facing calls to ban the app over unconfirmed concerns the Chinese Government could access Australian users’ data. In the story, the Herald Sun cites an unnamed federal MP, who said the app had not been thoroughly scrutinised in Australia.

“TikTok does not share information of our users in Australia with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government, and would not do so if asked,” Hunter told news.com.au.

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“We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.”

Hunter also said he welcomes possible plans for TikTok Australia to be brought before the Senate’s Select Committee on Foreign Interference.

In a related story, the company’s director of public policy, Brent Thomas, also denied the rumour from the unnamed MP, as well as claims from think tank The Australian Strategic Policy Institute that the Chinese Communist Party has a hold over the social media platform.

“This is a news report based on an unnamed source, supported by an organisation which has disclosed the receipt of foreign funding to publish its reports… so it’s not credible,” he said.

Similar concerns have been raised in the US, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying the Trump Administration is looking into banning the app.

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“I don’t want to get out in front of the President, but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo told Fox News in an interview.

“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too.”

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