TikTok Facing US Ban: Global Overview of App Restrictions

    This new legislation paves the way for TikTok's prohibition in the US within the next year. Concerns over national security have driven this decision.

    The US government has issued an ultimatum to ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok: sell the app to an American company or face TikTok ban. President Joe Biden reinforced this demand by signing a bill on Wednesday. This new legislation paves the way for TikTok’s prohibition in the US within the next year. Concerns over national security have driven this decision. US legislators worry that TikTok might allow the Chinese government access to user data. It’s important to note that the US isn’t the first country to consider such restrictions on TikTok due to these concerns.

    Many countries have taken action against TikTok, imposing bans or restrictions for various reasons. These reasons include concerns over privacy, security, and morality. Some countries have enacted total bans on the app. Others have chosen to restrict certain features or elements of TikTok. This article outlines the nations that have prohibited the app.

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    TikTok Ban: Which Countries Have Implemented a Complete Prohibition?


    On June 29, 2020, India implemented a ban on TikTok along with 58 other Chinese applications. This action was a response to privacy and security worries that arose after a military confrontation between India and China. Although TikTok sought an opportunity to resolve the issues raised by the Indian government, the ban became permanent in January 2021. At the time of the ban, India was the largest user base for TikTok.


    In 2022, the Taliban leadership of Afghanistan decided to ban TikTok and PUBG. They took this step with the intention of safeguarding the youth from potential misleading influences. The ban on these platforms, including TikTok, was part of a broader effort to control digital content in the country.


    The Islamic Republic has enforced a ban on TikTok and several other widely-used international social media platforms. This prohibition is part of the country’s regulatory measures on digital content. The TikTok ban reflects the government’s stance on controlling access to global social networking services.


    China does not permit the international version of TikTok within its borders. Instead, Chinese users have access to “Douyin”, which is essentially the local variant of TikTok. This version operates under strict censorship rules. The ban on the global TikTok app aligns with China’s broader internet regulatory framework, which includes the use of Douyin.

    North Korea

    In North Korea, the government imposes strict controls on internet access. As a result, TikTok is not authorized for use and does not appear on the list of allowed websites or applications. This exclusion of TikTok is consistent with the country’s stringent internet regulations.


    Uzbekistan has enforced a TikTok ban since July 2021. The reason behind this prohibition is TikTok’s failure to adhere to the nation’s laws on personal data protection. This ban reflects Uzbekistan’s commitment to safeguarding the personal information of its citizens against potential misuse.

    TikTok Ban: Countries with Partial Restrictions


    In October 2023, Indonesia imposed a ban on TikTok Shop. This feature, which enables creators to sell products directly through the app, was found to be in violation of the country’s e-commerce regulations. The Indonesian authorities’ decision to ban TikTok Shop underscores their enforcement of e-commerce laws.


    Earlier this month, restrictions were placed on TikTok access. These measures stem from worries about the platform’s adherence to child protection laws. Reports from local media reveal that the Ministry of Digital Development has dispatched letters to internet providers, instructing them to block the app. Despite these orders, TikTok remains accessible via certain providers. Users have reported experiencing challenges and disruptions while using the app.


    In 2022, Russia introduced content restrictions on social media platforms, including TikTok. The government prohibited all international content on the app. Only historical content from Russian users and material produced by state-supported media services were permitted to remain accessible. This move aligns with Russia’s broader strategy to control the digital information landscape within its borders.

    TikTok banned from government-owned devices


    On April 4, the Australian federal government banned TikTok from all its devices. The Attorney General’s Department announced this decision, highlighting concerns over security and privacy. The department’s statement pointed out the risks tied to TikTok’s extensive user data collection. It also mentioned the potential for exposure to orders from a foreign government that may conflict with Australian laws. This ban reflects Australia’s efforts to protect its governmental digital infrastructure.


    Kristjan Jarvan, the outgoing information technology minister, announced at the end of March that TikTok would be prohibited on state-issued smartphones for public officials. This ban is set to prevent the use of TikTok on devices provided by the government to its officials. The decision underscores the state’s stance on securing official communications and data.

    United Kingdom

    The United Kingdom declared a swift ban on TikTok for all government-issued devices on March 16. This decision was influenced by cybersecurity worries detailed in a report from the National Cyber Security Centre. The ban aims to mitigate potential risks to the security of official communications and data. It is a direct response to the concerns raised about the safety of using TikTok on devices used by government officials.

    European Union institutions

    The European Parliament, along with the Commission and Council, has implemented a ban on TikTok across all staff devices due to cybersecurity issues. This prohibition became effective on March 20. Additionally, the European Parliament has issued a firm recommendation for the removal of TikTok from personal devices owned by its members and staff. This recommendation is a precautionary measure to enhance the security of personal and professional data.

    The Netherlands

    The Dutch Interior Ministry has advised against using applications originating from nations known for their “aggressive cyber programmes.” Although TikTok was not explicitly mentioned, it is implied to be included in this cautionary statement. The Netherlands is taking steps to secure government-owned devices by ensuring that only approved apps can be installed and utilized. This move is aimed at bolstering cybersecurity and protecting sensitive information.

    According to Dutch Minister for Digitalization Alexandra van Huffelen, “the central government must be able to do its work securely, including via its mobile devices,” on March 21.


    Belgium’s federal government has imposed a ban on TikTok for a minimum duration of six months. This decision, effective from March 10, is rooted in concerns over cybersecurity and privacy. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo emphasized the importance of information security, stating, “The safety of our information must prevail.” The ban applies to all devices that are either owned or financed by the federal government. This measure reflects Belgium’s commitment to protecting its digital infrastructure.


    On March 5, the Defense Ministry of Denmark enacted a ban on TikTok across all official devices. This decision was based on an evaluation of cybersecurity risks conducted by the Centre for Cyber Security. The ban is a precautionary step to ensure the security of official communications and data within Denmark’s defense infrastructure.


    Canada implemented a ban on TikTok across all devices distributed by the government on February 28. This measure addresses concerns about privacy and security. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at that time, indicated that the government might consider additional measures in the future. The decision to ban TikTok reflects Canada’s cautious approach to safeguarding its digital environment.

    New Zealand

    On March 17, New Zealand imposed a ban on TikTok specifically targeting the phones of government lawmakers. The ban was instituted in response to security concerns. It is important to note that this ban is not comprehensive; it does not apply to all government employees. Instead, it is limited to approximately 500 individuals working within the parliamentary complex. This targeted approach reflects New Zealand’s selective measures to address security issues related to TikTok usage.


    Taiwan introduced a ban on TikTok within its public sector in December 2022. This decision was influenced by national security concerns, as underscored by the FBI. The ban specifically prohibits the use of Chinese-owned software on devices owned by the government. This policy is part of Taiwan’s efforts to secure its digital infrastructure against potential risks.


    In Malta, the government has implemented a block on non-government applications, such as TikTok, on cell phones provided to government officials. This measure ensures that only authorized government apps are used on these devices. The block is part of Malta’s strategy to maintain the security and integrity of its governmental communications.


    France enacted a ban on “recreational” applications, including TikTok, on March 24. This ban affects the work phones of civil servants and stems from concerns about cybersecurity and data protection. It’s important to note that this ban is specific to work phones and does not extend to personal phones or devices of the civil servants. This measure is a targeted effort to enhance the security of government-operated digital equipment.


    The parliament of Norway has implemented a ban on TikTok for all work-related devices. This action, taken on March 23, was in response to security risk warnings issued by the Justice Ministry. The ban is specifically aimed at work devices and is part of Norway’s efforts to protect its digital infrastructure from potential threats.


    As of March 2023, Latvia’s Foreign Ministry has instituted a prohibition on the use of TikTok on work phones. This measure is part of the ministry’s policy to ensure the security and integrity of its official communications systems.

    TikTok Ban: Temporary Restrictions in Various Countries


    Azerbaijan imposed a temporary block on TikTok amid its border conflicts with Armenia in September 2022. The block was reinstated a year later as part of “anti-terrorist measures.” However, access to TikTok was restored on October 1, 2023. These actions were taken in response to specific security concerns during periods of heightened tension.


    In August 2021, a Bangladeshi court commanded the expulsion of TikTok and similar apps from the nation’s app stores. The court aimed to shield the youth from moral and social decline. Later, authorities permitted TikTok’s reinstatement. However, the app had to enforce content moderation that respected Bangladesh’s cultural norms.


    Since October 2020, Pakistan has imposed several temporary bans on TikTok. The authorities have raised issues regarding content they deemed immoral. The app faced at least four bans. Each time, the ban was eventually reversed.

    Countries TikTok is facing ban

    United States

    On March 13, the US House of Representatives approved a bill. This bill mandates ByteDance to divest its ownership of TikTok. Failure to comply would result in a nationwide ban. ByteDance announced its intention to challenge this mandate in court. They labeled the ultimatum as “unconstitutional.” Despite this, the challenge may prove challenging. President Biden has already signed the bill into law.

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    TikTok has encountered regulatory challenges globally, with countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan imposing temporary bans due to content concerns. In the US, the House of Representatives passed a bill that could lead to a nationwide ban unless ByteDance divests from TikTok. Despite legal challenges, the bill’s enactment by President Biden signifies a firm stance on app restrictions based on national security and content moderation issues. The global landscape for app operations, particularly for platforms like TikTok, remains complex and subject to evolving regulatory measures.

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