China has denounced the US over its TikTok bans, saying it has been “abusing state power”.
Congress and more than half of US states have banned TikTok from government-issued mobile devices, following cybersecurity concerns.
TikTok is used by two-thirds of American teenagers but there is concern in Washington that China could use its legal and regulatory powers to obtain private user data or to push misinformation or narratives favouring China.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, said the US government was “overstretching the concept of national security and abusing state power to suppress other countries’ companies”.
On Washington’s insecurities, Ms Ning said: “How unsure of itself can the US, the world’s top superpower, be to fear a young person’s favourite app to such a degree?”
TikTok is one of many issues contributing to rising tensions between the two nations.
Trade, computer chips that allegedly steal tech data, the national security of Taiwan, and the emergence of a suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down over the US earlier this month, have all strained their relations.
Canada banned the app from all its government-issued devices on Monday, as did the European Commission a week earlier – both as cybersecurity precautions.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “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.”
Meanwhile, China has long enforced bans on multiple foreign social media platforms and messaging apps like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
TikTok has questioned the bans, saying it hasn’t had the chance to respond while governments were cutting themselves off from a platform loved by millions.