TikTok has responded to the recent political pressure to ban the app in Australia with a new advertising campaign.
The “Don’t make TikTok a political football” campaign launched this morning and has gone live across various Australian newspapers.
“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,” said TikTok Australia general manger Lee Hunter upon announcing the campaign.
“We always welcome the opportunity to meet with policy makers to talk about TikTok, including the steps we’re taking to make it an even safer and more creative place.”
— James Mayger (@JDMayger) July 15, 2020
— Kristy Schirmer (@Zockmelon) July 15, 2020
It follows mounting pressure for the app to be banned in Australia, following the lead of India last month.
An anonymous federal MP alleged the app was being used as a vector by the Chinese Communist Party to mine data from Australians.
“It might be dressed differently but it’s the same beast,” the politician told the Herald Sun.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has since said it was “right for people to have an increased awareness of where these platforms originate and the risks they present”.
Concerns around how TikTok is handling the data of Australian users was elevated this week when ASPI analyst Vicky Xiuzhong Zu claimed: “TikTok mines private data on a level that Facebook would only wish it dares to. By law, TikTok has to hand over data to the Chinese government when needs be, which can be used for purposes much worse than selling you a desk.”
It's common in China that social media companies collect biometric data that is later used by the government for policing. It's also a really bad idea to let TikTok have young people's passwords when they're future politicians and scientists that Beijing may choose to target 2/
— Vicky Xiuzhong Xu (@xu_xiuzhong) July 12, 2020
To further counter recent negative coverage, the campaign accompanied a letter that has been sent to federal MPs, in which the app claimed to be independent and not aligned with any government or political party.
— Stephen Jones MP (@StephenJonesMP) July 13, 2020
“Contrary to some claims, we are not aligned with any Government, political party or ideology. We are a privately owned company, and TikTok is focused on enabling people to make and share creative and fun videos,” said Hunter in the letter.
“We strive to be a platform that is both safe and fun to use, and we prioritise protecting the security of our users’ data.”
“The truth is, TikTok is a fun and engaging platform for sharing creative expression through video – that is being used by some as a political football.”
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