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Questions Over Triple J’s Future On Tik Tok As Government Ban Hits

4 April 2023 | 9:46 am | Jessie Lynch

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Victorian premier Daniel Andrews are set to announce the ban this week.

Credit: Solen Feyissa

Credit: Solen Feyissa

It's the fastest-growing app in history, but it's now been revealed that TikTok is set to be banned from all federal and Victorian government devices due to security concerns over the Chinese-owned social media platform.

As per The Australianfollowing a security review by the Department of Home Affairs, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Victorian premier Daniel Andrews are set to announce the ban this week which will cover all government-issued smartphones, laptops, and tablets used by politicians and public servants.

In Victoria, it is also not yet clear whether the ban will affect teachers, police, paramedics, fire services and hospital staff using work-provided phones, though we know that the ban will not apply to personal devices.

It mirrors recent TikTok bans for politicians and public servants across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

The move has cast uncertainty over whether government-funded, national Australian radio station triple j would be affected by the ban, though ABC's Head of Music & Creative Development Megan Loader has since confirmed the ban would not "automatically" apply to triple j.

“We’re funded by the government, but independent. It would be a decision for the ABC to make,” she told Purple Sneakers.

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TikTok General Manager Australia and New Zealand Lee Hunter has since issued a statement saying TikTok has refuted claims that the platform poses a security risk.

“If confirmed, we are extremely disappointed by this decision, which, in our view, is driven by politics, not by fact,” Hunter said in a statement.

“We are also disappointed that TikTok, and the millions of Australians who use it, were left to learn of this decision through the media, despite our repeated offers to engage with the government constructively about this policy.

“Again, we stress that there is no evidence to suggest that TikTok is in any way a security risk to Australians and we should not be treated differently to other social media platforms.

“Our millions of Australian users deserve a government which makes decisions based upon facts and which treats all businesses fairly, regardless of country of origin.”

Meanwhile, the opposition’s spokesman for cyber security, James Paterson, said that Australia is "so out of step and so far behind” when it comes to acting on the ban.

“It was 10 months ago that TikTok admitted to me that Australian user data is accessible and has been accessed in China under their national security laws," Paterson said.

“Our closest allies and friends have been acting for months – it has been more than 90 days since the US banned it.”

“All options need to be on the table. This is not only a data security risk for all those users and young people, but it’s also a foreign interference risk."

He continued, “The reality is, many young people get their news … through applications like TikTok. And it would be … easy for the Chinese Communist Party to direct Byte Dance and TikTok to suppress narratives that are contrary to their interests, to promote narratives that support their interests, or just sow division and undermine social cohesion and national unity."

“We cannot allow, in this strategic environment, an authoritarian state to have unregulated access to millions of Australians’ devices.”

The move comes following calls in the US to ban hugely the popular social media platform entirely - an unprecedented move considering the app has seen an average growth in the US of about 375% year-over-year since 2019.

There are currently no plans to introduce a general ban on TikTok in Australia, despite Senator Paterson's urging to follow suit.