TikTok bans could be the canary in the coalmine for global economic and technological fractures

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How Western governments decide to deal with TikTok could have massive ramifications for relations with China.

A person wearing an American jacket with a TikTok tag
(Image: Private Media/Gorkie)

The Australian government recently announced a TikTok ban on government devices, citing foreign interference and influence concerns.

When asked on ABC’s RN Breakfast whether children should also be prevented from using the video-sharing app, Alastair MacGibbon, chief strategy officer at CyberCX Australia, apparently believed so, saying, “I do wonder whether or not there needs to be some broader action”. This was echoed by Katherine Mansted, of the same cybersecurity firm.

Some security experts may prefer a wider prohibition, but politicians will think twice before they decide whether they can afford it electorally. Just as a wider TikTok ban in the US could cost President Joe Biden “every voter under 35”, a Labor government in Australia could face a similar scenario.

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About the Author

Wanning Sun — Contributor

Wanning Sun


Wanning Sun is a professor of media and communication in the faculty of arts and social Sciences at UTS. She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts (2020-23). She is best known in the field of China studies for her ethnography of rural-to-urban migration and social inequality in contemporary China. She is a Australia-China Relations Institute research associate, and writes about Chinese diaspora, diasporic Chinese media, and Australia-China relations.


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