Western nations ban TikTok on govt devices, but Singapore allows civil servants to use it on “need-to” basis

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TikTok also confirmed that the US had urged it to part ways with Beijing-based ByteDance to avoid a national ban.

SINGAPORE: While more Western nations are banning Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on government-issued mobile devices, the Singapore government has said that it will continue to allow civil servants here to use the app on their official devices, on a “need-to” basis.

The United Kingdom announced this week that it would ban TikTok on all Government mobile devices, joining governments in the United States, Canada, Belgium, New Zealand and certain European Union nations who have already decided to do so due to security concerns.

The bans allegedly stem from the rumour that ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, provides user data to the Chinese government – an accusation the company vehemently denied. A TikTok spokesperson told Euronews Next:

“We are disappointed with this decision. We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok, and our millions of users in the UK, play no part.

“We remain committed to working with the government to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors.”

TikTok also confirmed that the US had urged it to part ways with Beijing-based ByteDance to avoid a national ban.

For the time being, the Government in Singapore is not resorting to a blanket ban. A spokesperson for the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) told Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (16 Mar):

“Government-issued devices are meant for work and there are clear rules stipulating that only approved apps should be downloaded on such devices. Currently, TikTok is only allowed for use by public officers on a need-to basis, such as for communications officers.”

Revealing that other social media apps like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are also subject to the same policy, the spokesman added that the devices issued by the government are equipped with security configurations to ensure data security.

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