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TikTok Braces For Oz Parliamentary Committee After India Ban

Millennial-loved video sharing app, TikTok, is bracing to face an Australian parliamentary committee, following international concerns over user data privacy as some commentators assert it’s on ‘thin ice.’

The social media app is owned by Chinese-based ByteDance, and is one of the country’s first to gain cult-like following outside its home country.

TikTok became the world’s most downloaded app in recent months, propelled by home-bound individuals amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The app was banned in India last week, coupled with strained diplomatic relations between China and other countries as of late – especially America.

TikTok reportedly boasts over 1.5 million users in Australia alone, with the company opening a local office last month.

The app is facing notable backlash following international bans, with a local Select Committee on Foreign Interference Through Social Media reportedly urging the company the appear before it.

Reported by SMH, Chair of the committee Senator Jenny McAllister claims there has been “credible reports” to affirm the app obtains more user data than expected.

TikTok’s global parent and Australian subsidiary have continued to dismiss reports, firmly standing by its privacy policy.

“TikTok does not share information of our users in Australia with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government, and would not do so if asked,” states Lee Hunter, General Manager TikTok Australia.

“Yesterday’s news report is based on an unnamed source, supported by an organisation which has disclosed the receipt of foreign funding to publish its reports.”

“TikTok Australia user data is stored in Singapore, and our Chief Information Security Officer has outlined our efforts to minimise data access across regions”

“Similar to industry peers, we will continue to drive our goal of limiting the number of employees who have access to user data and the scenarios where data access is enabled.”

The app asserts it does not share information with foreign governments including China, and is open to talking with local regulators about how it’s seeking to make the platform an even more safe space.

“As per our Privacy Policy, we may share user data with third parties after seeking consent from the user, and as per Law Enforcement Data Request Guidelines we may share user data with law enforcement,” adds a TikTok Australia spokesperson.

The European Union and US government are among those undertaking further investigations.

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