The controversial social media application TikTok is the subject of a combined investigation by three provincial and federal privacy watchdogs in Canada.
According to a statement on the federal watchdog’s website, the federal privacy commissioner stated on Thursday that their office will work with privacy watchdogs in Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta to “jointly investigate the short-form video streaming program.”
If TikTok’s methods are “in compliance” with Canadian privacy laws and if “meaningful consent is being sought for the collection, use and sharing of personal information,” the authorities want to know.
The investigation will also have a special focus on the younger users who tend to dominate the application’s use in Canada.
A survey conducted by Toronto Metropolitan University’s Social Media Lab, which was released in September, found that just 26 per cent of all Canadians currently use TikTok.
However, 76 per cent of those aged 18-24 have an account on the platform, it revealed.
A spokesman for TikTok said in a statement to Global News on Thursday that the “privacy and safety of the TikTok community,” in especially its “younger members,” is “always a top priority.” The investigation comes as Canadian MPs prepare to launch their own inquiry on safety worries regarding the well-known social media platform.
It is not yet known when the House of Commons ethics committee will start investigating how TikTok and other social media platforms exploit “private information of Canadians for the goal of data gathering.” It all comes down to worries about ByteDance, the parent firm of TikTok in China. Those who worry that the Chinese government might access user information, such as browsing history and location, have criticized the company.
This is so because a law in China mandates that if Beijing requests it, private enterprises must cooperate.
The European Commission, which most recently forbade the use of TikTok on its business devices on Thursday morning, is the most recent in a spate of crackdowns on the use of the popular social media program.
Due to concerns that TikTok may be used to snoop on Americans and restrict material, the app has already been outlawed in India, and the United States is currently exploring legislation to do the same.
In response to widespread bipartisan security concerns, Congress has banned TikTok from the majority of U.S. government-issued devices. The U.S. armed forces likewise forbade the app from being used on military equipment.
According to Forbes, TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2022.
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