Growing Concerns: Majority of Canadians Support TikTok Ban Amid Security Reviews

(Last Updated On: March 30, 2024)

A recent poll reveals that 51% of Canadians support banning the popular social media app TikTok, following a U.S. bill aimed at prohibiting the app, which passed in the House of Representatives. Canada has initiated its own national security review of TikTok, a move announced by the Liberal government after the U.S. bill’s passage earlier this month.

Mixed Opinions on TikTok Ban

According to the Leger poll, conducted from March 23 to 25 with 1,605 Canadian participants, 28% of respondents oppose a ban on TikTok. The poll’s results reflect a divide in opinion, with younger Canadians, who are more likely to use TikTok, showing less support for a ban compared to their older counterparts. Among Canadians aged 18 to 34, nearly half reported using TikTok, whereas only 12% of those over 55 use the platform.

Christian Bourque, executive vice-president of Leger, noted, “In terms of those who support the ban and those who have specific concerns regarding TikTok, it’s mostly among older Canadians who don’t use TikTok.” Support for a ban is higher among Canadians aged 55 and older at 59%, compared to 42% among younger Canadians.

Influence from U.S. Legislation

Bourque suggests that the push for legislation to ban TikTok in the United States, fueled by concerns over its Chinese ownership, may be influencing opinions in Canada. TikTok, a subsidiary of Chinese tech company ByteDance Ltd., has raised concerns that the Chinese government could potentially access the data of TikTok’s American users due to national security laws in China.

The U.S. bill, which still requires approval from the Senate, proposes a ban on TikTok unless ByteDance divests its stake in the business. Meanwhile, Canada’s national security review of TikTok, launched in September without public disclosure, is separate from the U.S. bill and aims to subject TikTok to “enhanced scrutiny” in the interactive digital media sector.

Awareness and Concerns Among Canadians

The Leger poll indicates that 56% of Canadian respondents are aware of the national security concerns surrounding TikTok. Among those informed, 74% expressed concern, but 56% have not altered their usage of the app. Only 21% have reduced their time on TikTok, and a mere 7% have ceased using the app altogether.

Regarding social media usage, 26% of respondents reported being on TikTok, while 33% of those with children allow their kids to use the app. In comparison, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram remain more popular, used by 83% and 58% of respondents, respectively.

Data Protection Concerns Across Social Media Platforms

The poll also highlights broader concerns about data protection on social media. Over three-quarters of Facebook users and 70% of Instagram users expressed worries about data protection, compared to 66% of TikTok users. Bourque remarked, “It seems that Canadians by and large have concerns about social media altogether. It seems to be something that’s beyond maybe what they’ve seen or heard specific to TikTok.”

Conclusion

The Leger poll sheds light on the mixed opinions among Canadians regarding a potential TikTok ban, with a notable divide between younger and older demographics. As concerns over national security and data protection continue to grow, the outcome of both the U.S. legislation and Canada’s security review could have significant implications for TikTok’s future in North America.

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