A federal agency has very quietly decided the government shouldn’t be using TikTok.
What happened: Canada’s consulate general in New York deleted its TikTok account earlier this month, after its governing agency—the Treasury Board Secretariat—decided that TikTok is not on its list of “approved social media platforms for use by the Government of Canada.”
- You’re probably wondering what a consulate general could even post on TikTok, to which the answer is: videos celebrating Canada Day, Canadian inventions, and a prompt asking viewers to define #canadianculture—none of which went viral, alas.
- Some experts are surprised that a diplomatic agency was using TikTok in the first place, given the amount of sensitive information involved in their work. “I’m bothered by the fact that they had an account,” said one former national security analyst.
This month, a House of Commons ethics committee opened an investigation into TikTok’s use of data and whether it shares sensitive information with the Chinese government.
- Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada’s internet spy agency was watching TikTok “very carefully.” A conservative foreign affairs critic has called on the government to “take this threat much more seriously than they have.”
Why it matters: While Canadian regulators have been quiet about TikTok, at least relative to the mounting concerns expressed by their US equivalents in recent months, deleting a government TikTok account can be seen as the first small step toward reining it in.
Zoom out: In the US, TikTok has been banned from the Army and most federal government agencies. And as the war in Ukraine worsens tensions between the US and Russia-friendly China, calls for a national TikTok ban in America have been growing even louder.