Over Half of Canadians Support TikTok Ban Similar to Potential US Ban

by EditorK

TikTok logo on an iPhone in London on Feb. 28, 2023. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Andrew Chen
By Andrew Chen 

A new survey shows that more than half of Canadians are in favour of banning TikTok, a Chinese short-form video streaming application. Due to national security concerns, a bill with similar intentions just passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to the Leger survey findings, just over half of Canadians (51 percent) would be in favour a potential ban on TikTok in Canada, while 28 percent would oppose it.

More than half of Canadians (56 percent) are aware of the potential national security risks associated with TikTok, while 38 percent are not, according to the poll. Among those who are aware of the risks, three-quarters (72 percent) expressed concerns about national security.

On March 13, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” in a bipartisan 352–65 vote.

If it passes into law, the bill will legally require TikTok to divest from China-based parent company ByteDance or face a ban on U.S. app stores and hosting services. The bill is now before the U.S. Senate, and President Joe Biden has agreed to sign it into law if approved in the upper chamber.

The bill notes that TikTok and ByteDance pose “a significant threat to national security.“ Security experts have also described the app as an ”intelligence weapon“ for the Chinese Communist Party, and warned against its role in helping the regime to spread propaganda and steal intellectual property.

Conducted between March 23 and March 25, the poll also surveyed Americans to find out their opinions on a possible TikTok ban, and found that 47 percent of respondents support a ban 34 percent oppose it.

Canadians aged 55 and older (81 percent) are more likely to express security concerns compared to those aged 35 to 54 (66 percent) and 18 to 34 (62 percent).

However, when asked if national security concerns have prompted a change in their use of TikTok, only 7 percent said they had completely stopped using the app. Some (21 percent) have reduced or become more cautious (16 percent) when using it, while 56 percent reported no change in their usage.

TikTok has around eight million users in Canada and over 100 million users in the United States.

‘Within the Control’ of Chinese Regime

In February 2023, Ottawa banned TikTok from all government-issued devices, citing concerns about the app’s data-collection methods, which could leave users vulnerable to cyberattacks. Following the federal ban, some provinces and territories have also barred TikTok from government-issued devices.More recently, the federal government revealed that it secretly ordered a national security review of TikTok in September 2023.“This is still an ongoing case. We can’t comment further because of the confidentiality provisions of the Investment Canada Act,” stated a spokesperson for Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne to The Canadian Press earlier this month.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned U.S. Senators about the threat TikTok poses to national security.

“This is a tool that is ultimately within the control of the Chinese government, and it, to me, it screams out with national security concerns,” he said during a hearing before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on March 8, 2023.U.S. lawmakers have raised concerns about ByteDance potentially granting the Chinese regime access to the data of TikTok’s U.S. users. Such concerns stems from Chinese national security laws, which mandate organizations to assist with intelligence gathering efforts.David Lieber, head of TikTok’s Privacy Public Policy for the Americas, confirmed to MPs that ByteDance has access to TikTok’s user data during his testimony before the House of Commons Ethics Committee on Oct. 18, 2023.When asked by NDP MP Matthew Green whether TikTok has “a parent company in China that has access to user data,” Mr. Lieber responded “yes.”

Samantha Flom contributed to this report

 Andrew Chen is a news reporter with the Canadian edition of The Epoch Times. 

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