Poilievre and Tories will suspend TikTok accounts after ban


Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has suspended his TikTok account — and he’s expecting his MPs to follow suit, according to a spokesperson for his office. As of Monday afternoon, Poilievre’s account on the popular social media application had more than 230,000 followers.But just hours after the government announced its plan to ban the use of TikTok on all government-issued mobile devices, starting Tuesday, the Conservative leader’s account was no longer visible on the application.In a statement, Poilievre’s spokesperson confirmed that the Conservative leader had suspended his TikTok account.“We will fully comply with the directive to remove TikTok from government devices and will work to see that this ban is extended to include parliamentary devices,” Sebastian Skamski said in a statement. Story continues below advertisement “The Leader and all Conservative caucus members will suspend their TikTok accounts and work with all parties to ensure our Parliament is protected.” 1:14 Why is Canada’s government banning TikTok on its employees phones? While Poilievre has the most-followed account in the Conservative caucus, he’s not the only politician who is active on the application. Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman boasts about 160,000 followers, while her caucus colleague Michael Barrett had more than 10,000 before he suspended his account.But the most-followed member of Parliament is NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose account — which has more than 878,000 followers — was still active as of Monday evening.A number of Liberal MPs also have TikTok accounts, including cabinet ministers Carolyn Bennett and Ahmed Hussen, but none have more than 10,000 followers.Treasury Board President Mona Fortier announced the TikTok ban for government-issued mobile devices — which does not include parliamentary devices — after a review from the Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that the application “presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security,” she said. Story continues below advertisement TikTok’s data collection methods on mobile devices provide “considerable access” to the contents of the phone, Fortier explained. Trending Now “While the risks of using this application are clear, we have no evidence at this point that government information has been compromised,” she added.When pressed on the announcement during a press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is “looking carefully at how to ensure Canadians are kept safe online.”“We’re making the decision for government employees, for government equipment, it is better to not have them access TikTok because of the concerns that people have in terms of safety,” Trudeau said.“This may be a first step. It may be the only step we need to take.” 1:14 TikTok banned on all Canadian government devices for ‘safety and security’: Trudeau Canadians, meanwhile, can continue to make a “personal choice” when it comes to whether to use the application, both Fortier and Trudeau said. Story continues below advertisement The announcement comes just days after the European Commission announced an outright ban on the use of the application on its work phones Thursday morning — including personal devices that are enrolled in the commission’s “mobile device service.”The app has also been banned in India, and the United States is currently considering legislation to ban TikTok amid fears it could be used to spy on Americans and censor content.Congress also recently banned TikTok from most U.S. government-issued devices over bipartisan concerns about security, and the U.S. armed forces also have prohibited the app on military devices.The concerns clouding the social media platform stem from TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance. 4:50 Tech Talk: Canada’s privacy watchdogs investigates TikTok The company has faced criticism from those who warn that China’s government could access user data, such as browsing history and location, thanks to a Chinese law that requires private companies to cooperate with Beijing if asked. Story continues below advertisement In a statement sent to Global News on Monday, a spokesperson for TikTok questioned the timing of the government’s announcement.“It’s curious that the Government of Canada has moved to block TikTok on government-issued devices—without citing any specific security concern or contacting us with questions—only after similar bans were introduced in the EU and the US,” the spokesperson said.“We are always available to meet with our government officials to discuss how we protect the privacy and security of Canadians, but singling out TikTok in this way does nothing to achieve that shared goal. All it does is prevent officials from reaching the public on a platform loved by millions of Canadians.”Canada’s federal privacy watchdog also announced on Thursday that it is launching a joint investigation into TikTok with three provincial counterparts. &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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