TikTok Faces Global Backlash and Danish Ban Over Data Privacy Concerns

Russell Kidson
Mar 11, 2023

The public-service broadcaster in Denmark has issued guidance to its personnel, recommending that they avoid installing TikTok on their official work phones due to potential security risks. This advisory was based on a thorough security evaluation and alerts raised by Denmark's Centre for Cyber Security. Journalists who require access to the platform for research purposes will now have to request permission to utilize designated "TikTok phones." It is noteworthy that DR is the first news outlet to provide such counsel.

TikTok Faces Global Backlash and Danish Ban Over Data Privacy Concerns

TikTok is a social media application that is managed from Singapore, but its parent corporation, ByteDance, is headquartered in Beijing. As a result of this association, there has been mounting concern among European and American policymakers that the Chinese government may leverage the platform to spy on its users or access their personal data. These concerns are primarily centered on data privacy and national security issues, and policymakers are apprehensive that the Chinese Communist Party could exploit the app's vast user base for its own purposes. However, both TikTok and ByteDance have consistently denied these accusations and claim to have implemented strict data protection measures to safeguard their users' privacy.

Despite the repeated denials from TikTok and ByteDance, the advisory issued by Denmark's public-service broadcaster, DR, indicates that it remains unconvinced about the security and privacy of the platform. Additionally, DR has announced that it will discontinue a project that had previously leveraged the widely used social media application to disseminate its content. According to executive Niels Ammitzbøll, all DR employees are now instructed to refrain from installing and using TikTok on their work phones, and separate mobile devices designated solely for TikTok use will be provided to ensure uninterrupted journalistic operations.

A timeline of TikTok’s decline

On Wednesday, TikTok's European division unveiled an elaborate strategy, Project Clover, aimed at bolstering trust in its data-privacy protocols. This initiative will entail constructing data centres in Ireland, employing a third-party security agency to oversee data flows, and implementing data collection techniques that make it harder to identify individual users. Project Texas, a similar scheme, is currently being rolled out in the United States.

However, the day before Project Clover's announcement, US President Joe Biden lent his administration's support to a bill proposed by Democrat Mark Warner, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Republican John Thune, that would grant the authority to ban foreign-owned technology. Since December, several high-profile organisations have taken action against TikTok, including the banning of the app on federal-government devices in the United States and Canada, deletion of the app from European Commission and European Council staff work phones, and urging of Denmark's parliamentarians and staff to delete the app.

On March 1, the White House ordered all government agencies to ensure that TikTok is not installed on federal devices, and on March 9, Denmark's public-service broadcaster, DR, advised its personnel to delete the app altogether, even from their personal mobile phones.

Related: Gen Z still prefers TikTok for news

TikTok in Hot Water Over Data Privacy Issues Amidst Global Ban

TikTok maintains its innocence

TikTok has dismissed the bans as "misguided and counterproductive" with respect to enhancing data privacy and security. China has also expressed its firm opposition to these actions. Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry, criticized the US, stating that the world's most powerful country should not fear a popular app among young people.

TikTok's CEO, Shou Zi Chew, is expected to testify before the US Congress later this month. During an interview with BBC Radio 4's World Tonight programme on Tuesday, Michael Beckerman, TikTok's US head of public policy, expressed apprehension about being used as a "pawn" in the diplomatic tensions between the US and China. He emphasized that the company was not the only one gathering significant amounts of user data and pointed out that many major tech firms also had engineers based in China.


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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments (https://www.ghacks.net/chatgpt-gets-schooled-by-princeton-university/#comments). Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If ghacks.net intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this Friend.tech as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/23/what-is-friend-tech/] and it appears there but as well here at [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/08/how-to-follow-everyone-on-threads/]

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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