Will TikTok Ever Move Out of the Gun Sights of Governments?

gun sights

TikTok has been making headlines ever since it debuted and went viral. Is “viral” even the right word to describe the cultural reset it triggered? Unfortunately, most of these headlines are not in the app’s favor, including adding to the mental health crisis among U.S. teens AND United Arab Emirates (UAE) teens and spreading misinformation like wildfire. But recently, it has been in the news because it has apparently become governmental enemy number one. So, the question now is whether TikTok will ever move out of their gun sights.

Short answer: No. Long Answer: The rest of this article.

TikTok and All the Countries It Has Angered

To no one’s surprise, several countries regardless of their cultural backgrounds have gone the legal route in banning TikTok. The following are three of the seven countries to set their gun sights on Chinese-owned app, the others being Canada, European Union, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.


In 2020, India banned WeChat and dozens of other Chinese apps, including TikTok, over privacy and security concerns. The ban was implemented soon after a clash between Chinese and Indian troops at a contentious Himalayan border which left 20 Indian soldiers dead and numerous others hurt. After giving the businesses a chance to comment on privacy and security concerns, the ban was made permanent in January 2021.


After the FBI issued a warning that TikTok posed a threat to national security, Taiwan banned the app from the public sector in December 2022. Chinese-made software is not permitted to be used on government devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.

The US

The US announced this week that due to data security concerns, government organizations have 30 days to remove TikTok from federal devices and systems. Only government-related devices are covered by the ban, despite some US lawmakers being in favor of a complete ban. China reacted angrily to the decision, calling it an abuse of state power that stifles foreign companies.

The common reason cited is its ties with the Chinese government.

Wait… Just Because It’s Chinese?

Pretty much. Western legislators and regulators have grown increasingly concerned that TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, may give the Chinese government access to private user data, such as locations. They have cited legal provisions that permit the Chinese government to covertly request information from Chinese businesses and individuals for intelligence-gathering purposes. They are also concerned that China might spread misinformation using TikTok’s content recommendations.

Final Thoughts

Most criticism of this ban stems from the lack of action towards other big tech companies that feed on user data, i.e., Facebook and Instagram. But here’s the thing: they are American. China is a worthy opponent of the American government, making any intel it could collect detrimental to one of the world’s most powerful countries. Had the app been of developing country origin, the anxiety around it would not have been as bad. And TikTok is the tip of the iceberg. We are living in the prime age of data collection and Trade, but what does that mean for freedom of speech?

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Tech sections to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.