In which countries is TikTok banned?
Despite its undeniable success, TikTok is also controversial in many parts of the world. Some countries have implemented bans on TikTok, while others have tried to block the app or introduce temporary restrictions.
So where is TikTok banned? Here is all the information you need to know.
Where is TikTok currently banned?
Although not completely banned in Russia, TikTok's operating status is very limited. As the Guardian reported in March 2022, TikTok only allows Russian content in the country.
However, in other countries, this controversial application is completely banned. Below are a few of those countries.
Indian authorities clamped down on Chinese apps in 2020 and banned TikTok and more than 50 other apps that summer.
India decided to ban Chinese applications citing concerns related to TikTok and national security. TikTok was extremely popular in the country before it was blocked, with more than 200 million users.
TikTok's ban in India is permanent and the company has withdrawn from the market.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in the summer of 2021 and in early 2022, banned TikTok.
As mentioned in an article published by the BBC, the Taliban said they aimed to "prevent the younger generation from being deceived". As of January 2023, the ban has not yet taken effect, and no one knows whether it will be permanent or not.
4. Montana (Pending)
In 2020, former President Donald Trump tried to institute a nationwide TikTok ban but his effort failed. But since then, Montana has become the first state in the country to ban the app.
As reported by NPR, Governor Greg Gianforte argued that allowing TikTok puts people's sensitive data at risk of falling into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. While a challenge against the bill is possible, a ban — which would include removing TikTok from the App Store and Google Play — would begin in January 2024 if those efforts fail.
Somalia banned TikTok in 2023. The country's authorities argue that 'terrorists and unscrupulous groups' are using the app to 'spread horrific content and false information to the public' .
This move was met with strong opposition; as many Somalis argue that they rely on TikTok to make money. In addition to TikTok, the Somali government also banned Telegram.
In the list of countries banning TikTok, there is also Kyrgyzstan, which has banned TikTok in 2023. The main reason is to protect the mental health of young people, along with the argument that some of the above challenges TikTok can put lives in danger.
Jordan banned TikTok in December 2022, following the death of a police officer during a protest against rising oil prices. The ban is expected to be temporary- but as of October 2023, it remains in place.
TikTok is completely banned in Iran, as is the case with many other entertainment and social media apps. The Iranian government argues that TikTok is not compatible with the country's regulations and that users cannot download the app to their devices.
Which countries have banned TikTok before?
In addition to India's seemingly irreversible ban and Afghanistan's plan to restrict the Bytedance-owned app, several countries have banned TikTok in the past, but have since changed their minds.
Below are some countries that previously banned TikTok but later allowed users to regain access to the app.
Pakistan's relationship with TikTok is not simple. Authorities in the country banned the app no less than four times between October 2020 and November 2021.
The first ban in October 2020 lasted for 10 days and stemmed from content deemed inappropriate. In March 2021, the app was banned again - this time until April.
Two months later, TikTok suffered another ban in Pakistan. However, this time it only lasted 3 days. The fourth ban occurred in July 2021 and lasted about 4 months. However, in 2022, things became smoother for TikTok in Pakistan.
Bangladesh is another country where TikTok has faced difficulties in the past. Access to the app was restricted in November 2018, but users were able to view the content again in 2020.
However, that was not TikTok's last conflict with the Bangladeshi government. In the summer of 2021, a domestic court banned the app - along with several others - for three months.
Indonesia is another country that has implemented a TikTok ban in the past. In July 2018, the country's authorities chose to restrict user access to the app due to the content on the platform. The government said users had access to pornography and other forms of inappropriate content.
The TikTok ban in Indonesia lasted just over a week; the app is allowed to start working again after removing the content in question.
However, in 2023, Indonesian authorities announced that social networks must remove eCommerce features from domestic applications. As a result, TikTok withdrew from the market in October 2023.
Is TikTok banned in China?
Bytedance, TikTok's parent company, is headquartered in Beijing. But despite this fact, TikTok does not operate in China.
Instead, domestic users can download an app called Douyin. This app is similar to TikTok but you cannot download it outside of China.
Which country's Government employees are banned from downloading TikTok?
In addition to some countries that have announced a complete ban on TikTok for ordinary residents, many government officials are also not allowed to use this application.
The EU argues that member states should prevent government employees from downloading TikTok for a number of reasons, including cybersecurity concerns. And if you belong to the Council of the EU, the European Commission or the European Parliament, you are not allowed to download the app on your device.
Even if you're not a government official, you might want to find out how much TikTok really knows about you. Doing so will allow you to decide whether you want to continue using the application or not.
In 2023, NATO banned its employees from using TikTok on work devices. Like the EU, security is the main reason behind this decision.
Norway banned ministers and government officials from using TikTok on their work devices in 2023, and the Norwegian Parliament has similar restrictions on its employees. The ban covers all employees with access to government systems in the country.
Denmark is another country that has announced a TikTok ban for certain employees. The country's Ministry of Defense informed employees that they cannot use this application on their work phones because of concerns related to cybersecurity.
Canada announced a TikTok ban on government devices at the end of February 2023. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that this may be the only step that needs to be taken, but they could take further action if they feel find it necessary to do so.
Many states and cities in the US have banned TikTok on government devices, including New York City. Employees and people of the federal government are also not allowed to use the app, and that applies to both their work and personal devices.
In addition to the countries the article mentioned, government officials in several other countries also have restrictions on access to TikTok. Including:
- New Zealand
- Older brother
- Republic of Ireland
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