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Young people can continue to use TikTok, assures Minister Champagne

Photo: Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne speaks to reporters before attending a cabinet meeting in Ottawa on December 12, 2023.

Anja Karadeglija – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

March 16, 2024

  • Canada

Federal Industry Minister says Canadians should not be concerned about the use of TikTok, despite the company's ongoing “national security review.”

Asked during a press conference whether Canadians who use the application, including parents whose children are very present on TikTok, should be concerned about this platform, Minister François -Philippe Champagne dismissed this idea.

” The answer is no. And I think Canadians and parents should be happy to see that we had a head start,” he said of the opening six months ago in Canada of a review into national security.

Minister Champagne said anything resulting from the review would be “directed at the company and not at the users” of TikTok.

The Liberal government ordered a national security review of TikTok last September, but only revealed it publicly this week.

This revelation came following the adoption by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday of a proposed bill that would ban TikTok in the United States unless its owner, based in China, sells its stake. in the company.

Mr. Champagne indicated Friday that his government would carefully monitor this bill in the United States, which must now be voted on in the Senate. The minister stressed that “there is still a way to go before it becomes law.”

TikTok is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese technology company ByteDance. The concern behind the US bill is that due to China's national security laws, which require organizations to assist in intelligence collection, the Chinese government could demand access to US users' data. TikTok.

Minister Champagne's office affirmed that the Canadian review, requested six months ago, is therefore not linked to the American bill.

A case of foreign investment

The minister said Friday that the Canadian investigation should come as no surprise since the government earlier this month released a new policy on foreign investment in Canada's interactive digital media sector.

Mr. Champagne said the policy “was very clear” that the Canadian government subjects foreign investments in interactive digital media “to intense scrutiny.”

This policy statement states that “certain state-sponsored or state-influenced hostile actors may seek to leverage foreign investment in the interactive digital media sector in order to spread disinformation or manipulate information in a manner that harms the national security of Canada.”

The government clarified that a business expansion was the reason for triggering a review under the Investment Canada Act, without specifying which one. However, a government database shows a new business notice from TikTok from June 2023.

The database indicates that Network Sense Ventures in Toronto and Vancouver would engage in “marketing, advertising and content/creator development activities in connection with the use of the TikTok application in Canada.”

The Investment Canada Act allows the government to launch a review when it believes a foreign investment could harm national security.

The Cabinet can take certain actions, such as forcing investors to sell parts of the company or shares, or allowing them to continue operating as long as they agree to certain conditions.

The federal government banned TikTok from its mobile devices in February 2023 following the launch of an investigation into the company by federal and provincial privacy commissioners. Several provinces, including Quebec, quickly followed suit.

Minister Champagne emphasized Friday that the Investment Canada Act does not allow him to disclose details of the ongoing review.

He said that once the review is complete, “we will inform Canadians of any action, if any, that we decide to take with respect to this particular company.”

A TikTok spokesperson said the company was cooperating with the government review and remained “committed to ensuring the safety and security of the platform for millions of creators, 'artists and small businesses in Canada who rely on TikTok to earn a living, find community and create jobs.'

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116