Taiwan minister labels TikTok a national security threat amid global concerns

Tang’s statement signals Taiwan’s tightening stance on cybersecurity, as discussions ensue regarding extending TikTok’s ban beyond government agencies to schools and other sectors.

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Taiwan’s Minister of Digital Affairs, Audrey Tang, has labelled TikTok a national security threat due to concerns about foreign influence, echoing similar worries in the United States. Taiwanese government agencies have already banned the platform, and there are discussions about extending the ban to other sectors like schools.

In the US, a bill has been passed by the House of Representatives aiming to ban TikTok unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, sells it to an American company within six months. The bill’s supporters fear the Chinese government’s influence over user data and content censorship. TikTok’s CEO opposes the ban, arguing it would harm jobs and empower other social media companies.

Meanwhile, Tang stated that Taiwan is closely monitoring the US bill concerning TikTok and emphasised that the Cabinet will determine any decision regarding the platform’s usage in Taiwan after thoroughly considering feedback from different sectors.

Why does it matter?

Several countries, including Australia, the United States, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, India, and now Taiwan, have taken measures to ban TikTok on government-owned devices or at a broader level due to worries about privacy and security risks associated with the Chinese-owned app. Last week, China criticised the US bill, denouncing it as unjust and likening it to banditry. Beijing vowed to protect its interests, while former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary expressed interest in buying TikTok, whose valuation has skyrocketed to an estimated $268 billion amid plans for a US-based acquisition.