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TikTok Guarded Over Call By Parliament To Be Banned

SYDNEY: TikTok is set to be called to appear before a parliamentary committee amid calls for it to be banned in Australia, as the viral video sharing platform tried to defend itself against claims of misuse of users’ data.

Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok has been hit by China’s worsening diplomatic relations around the world, with India banning TikTok last week. TikTok opened an office in Australia last month and has come under increased scrutiny locally.

Senator Jenny McAllister, chair of the Select Committee on Foreign Interference Through Social Media, said concerns had been raised about the platform.

“There have been credible reports that TikTok takes more data than its users would expect, and moderates content for reasons that its users may not be comfortable with,” she said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, speaking on 2GB, also cited concerns. “People have to be quite conscious in this digital age that all of these platforms, they all go back to places and people are knowingly handing over their data,” he said. 

“I think it’s right for people to have an increased awareness of where these platforms originate and the risks they present.” 

TikTok Australia’s general manager Lee Hunter said: “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. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.“

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