New Zealand joins US push to curb TikTok use on official phones with Parliament ban | CNN Business
New Zealand will ban TikTok from all devices with access to its parliament later this month, becoming the latest country to impose an official bar on the popular social media platform owned by a Beijing-based tech conglomerate .
Led by the United States, a growing number of Western nations are imposing restrictions on the use of TikTok on government devices citing national security concerns.
Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, chief executive of New Zealand’s parliamentary service, said in a statement on Friday that the risks of maintaining the video-sharing app were “not acceptable”.
“This decision has been made based on the analysis of our experts and after discussion with our colleagues in government and internationally,” he wrote.
“On the advice of our cyber security experts, the Parliamentary Service has informed members and staff that the TikTok app will be removed from all devices with access to the parliamentary network,” he added.
But those who need the app to “fulfill their democratic duties” may be granted an exception, he said, and the app is expected to be phased out on March 31.
CNN has reached out to TikTok and its Beijing-based owner ByteDance for comment.
New Zealand’s decision followed similar actions already taken by its Western allies, despite the country’s track record of a more cautious approach when dealing with Beijing, in part because China is a partner commercial so important.
The United States, United Kingdom and Canada have ordered the removal of the app from all government phones, citing cybersecurity concerns.
All three countries are part of the so-called “Five Eyes” alliance that cooperates with each other in the collection and exchange of intelligence.
The Chinese video-sharing app is also banned in the European Union’s three main government institutions.
Tik Tok has become one of the most successful social media platforms in the world and is very popular among the younger generation.
The short video sharing app has over 100 million users in the US alone.
New Zealand’s latest move came just hours after TikTok acknowledged the Biden administration had threatened to ban its operation nationwide unless its Chinese owners agreed to divest their share of the social media platform .
U.S. officials have raised fears that the Chinese government could use its national security laws to pressure TikTok or its parent company ByteDance to hand over the personal information of U.S. TikTok users, which could benefit activities of Chinese intelligence or influence campaigns.
China has accused the United States of “unreasonably deleting” TikTok and spreading “false information” about data security.
FBI Director Christopher Wray told the US Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month that he feared the Chinese government could use TikTok to influence public opinion in the event that China invades Taiwan, the self-governing island over which Beijing claims sovereignty despite never having ruled it.
TikTok has repeatedly denied posing any security risks and has said it is willing to work with regulators to resolve any concerns they may have.