TikTok: Countries that have banned the app over cybersecurity concerns — and other reasons

The TikTok video-sharing app is hugely popular among young people  (Peter Byrne /PA)
The TikTok video-sharing app is hugely popular among young people (Peter Byrne /PA)

Global social media giant TikTok has been criticised and questioned by numerous governments worldwide, including those in the US and the UK.

The video-sharing app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is reportedly set to be banned from UK Government phones over security reasons.

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden will make a statement to Parliament on Thursday afternoon on “the security of government devices”.

The US government has also said that TikTok should be sold or face a possible ban in the country. It has backed a new bill being passed that could give it the power to ban the platform nationwide.

American officials have for years raised concerns that data from the popular app could fall into the hands of the Chinese government.

The new legislation, introduced last week by several senators, would give the US commerce department new powers to ban TikTok and “other foreign-based technologies if they pose national security threats”.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who chairs the intelligence committee, said the new bill would also apply to any other foreign technologies from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba.

TikTok replied that any “US ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide”.

While ByteDance has tried its best to settle lawsuits and appease concerns, some nations have decided to ban it either totally or partially.

Here is a comprehensive look at all the countries that have banned TikTok.

United Kingdom

TikTok is set to be banned from UK government phones later today (March 16).

Mr Dowden’s Parliament statement this afternoon is expected to confirm the ban.

Earlier this week, security minister Tom Tugendhat told Sky News he had asked the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to look into the app. He said it was “absolutely essential” to keep the UK’s “diplomatic processes free and safe”.

United States

New legislation has been backed that would see a nationwide ban of the platform but fears were also raised last month.

On February 28, the US government revealed that it had ordered all of its federal employees to remove TikTok from their government-issued phones to protect confidential data.

A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry criticised the move, saying: “We firmly oppose those wrong actions. The US government should respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, stop suppressing the companies, and provide an open, fair, and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies in the US.”

They added: “How unsure of itself can the world’s top superpower like the US be to fear young people’s favourite app like that.”


The North American nation also banned TikTok from being installed on any government-issued devices.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained the reason thus: “I suspect that as government takes the significant step of telling all federal employees that they can no longer use TikTok on their work phones, many Canadians from business to private individuals will reflect on the security of their own data and perhaps make choices,

“I’m always a fan of giving Canadians the information for them to make the right decisions for them.”

The European Union

The wave of bans within the EU began with the European Commission and the EU Council temporarily banning TikTok from employee phones as a cybersecurity measure.

Later, on Tuesday, February 28, the European Parliament revealed that it would follow suit.

Aside from downloading the video-sharing app on their work phones, employees have also been barred from going on the platform on their private devices — if their parliament email and other network accesses are installed on them.


India banned TikTok in June 2020 alongside some other Chinese apps. It believes the app threatens its national security and defence — and that it also encourages pornography.

India was TikTok’s largest international market before the ban, with more than 200 million users.


In 2022, the Taiwanese government banned TikTok from all public-sector devices. This followed concerns that the Chinese government was conducting “cognitive warfare” against the nation.


Pakistan has banned the video-sharing app several times, with the latest ban concluding in November 2021.


In April 2022, a Taliban spokesperson said the government was planning to ban the app. This was because of the negative impact it had on the younger generation and its inconsistencies with their Islamic laws.

As it stands, TikTok remains available in the country.


In Iran, TikTok is entirely banned as TikTok’s rules and Iran’s laws are not compatible.