A man carries a Free TikTok sign (file image)
TikTok's potential US ban is causing confusion. Image by AP PHOTO

No, TikTok has not been banned in Australia

Tom Wark May 17, 2024

TikTok is now banned in Australia.


False. TikTok has not been banned in Australia.

Legislation in the US and the ongoing debate around content removal on social media have led to numerous claims that TikTok has been banned in Australia.

This is false. The platform is freely available for the public to download and use. However, it cannot be downloaded onto federal government devices.

Numerous claims have been made, mostly from overseas users, that Australia is one of several countries to prevent its citizens from using the platform.

A Facebook post spreading the false claim
 False claims about TikTok continue to spread online. 

“Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Canada…What do these countries have in common? They have all BANNED TIKTOK,” one post reads.

“TikTok is already banned in Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkey and India. #ChinaIsTheEnemy” another post reads.

More than 8.5 million Australians use TikTok every month, according to the app’s latest published data in 2023.

It’s the most popular social media app in Australia based on average time spent using the platform per month, according to research published in January 2024 by Meltwater and We Are Social.

The Australian government banned it from federal government devices in April 2023.

Some of the posts appear to be linked to the ongoing debate about social media “censorship” following requests to remove footage of the stabbing of a Sydney bishop from X (formerly Twitter) last month.

But most of the posts appear to have been prompted by a suite of legislation enacted by US President Joe Biden on April 24.

This included the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act“, which prohibits applications operated by a “foreign adversary”.

Countries the US considers “foreign adversaries” include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Russia.

The act references TikTok and its parent company ByteDance as “foreign adversary controlled applications”, but does not implement an immediate ban on all applications they operate.

The TikTok app logo on a phone (file image)
 TikTok has over 8.5 million users in Australia. 

The act states the prohibition only takes effect 270 days after the law was enacted, unless a “qualified divestiture” has taken place to remove the application from the control of the foreign adversary.

This means TikTok hasn’t been banned, but ByteDance has nine months to sell the app to another company outside the borders of China to prevent it being banned.

The company could be eligible for a 90-day extension if the US president believes enough progress has been made towards a sale.

In May, TikTok launched a lawsuit against the US government in an attempt to block the ban, arguing the move is unconstitutional, which sets the stage for a lengthy legal battle.

Several posts on Facebook falsely claim the passing of the legislation automatically bans TikTok in the US.

“TikTok is now officially banned in the USA as it’s just been passed in the senate,” reads one post.

The Verdict

The claim TikTok is now banned in Australia is false.

The Australian public is free to download and access the app. However, it is banned from federal government devices.

American-based users can also still use TikTok.

False — The claim is inaccurate.

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