Aug 6, 2020 - Technology

TikTok faces bans around the world

Data: AppTopia; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios
Data: AppTopia; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

TikTok, already threatened with a U.S. ban by President Trump, is also facing the prospect that its stunning 2020 growth could be ended by multiple bans around the world.

The state of play: TikTok is already banned in India, where it was downloaded more than 118 million times in 2020. A U.S. ban would cut into a significant amount of the user growth it has seen this year.

  • More than 50 million U.S. users downloaded the app in 2020, per AppTopia.
  • The company says that TikTok has more than 100 million American users.

The big picture: As Axios has previously noted, more than any other Chinese-owned app, TikTok has found success outside of its homeland. But an increasing number of countries are beginning to eye bans of the app.

  • Japan is also mulling a ban of TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps. As TechCrunch notes, Japan was one of TikTok's first oversees success stories.
  • Pakistan has put TikTok on notice for featuring what the government calls inappropriate content. Pakistan issued a "final warning" to TikTok in late July.
  • Hong Kong passed a sweeping security law earlier this year that caused TikTok to discontinue operating there.
  • Indonesia, one of TikTok's more popular markets, temporarily banned the app in 2018 for "inappropriate content." The ban was quickly overturned once the company agreed to censor “negative content,” per Reuters.

What's happening: TikTok has launched a Washington offensive in an attempt to assure regulators and users that it does not share any data with the Chinese government and that it's willing to abide by any regulations necessary to remain in the U.S.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to remove a reference to Australia's investigation of security concerns over TikTok. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announced Wednesday that the nation would not ban the app, though he urged caution in its use.

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