Half of Canadians support TikTok ban, as US concerns ‘drip’ north: poll

A new poll indicates that 51 per cent of Canadians support banning the social media app TikTok, after a US bill aimed at doing just that passed the House of Representatives.

Canada has ordered its own national security review of TikTok, something the Liberal government revealed following the passage of the US bill earlier this month.

Just under a third of respondents, 28 per cent, said they would oppose a ban, according to Leger’s survey of 1,605 Canadians conducted March 23-25. The survey has no margin of error because online surveys are not considered truly random. samples.

Younger Canadians, who are also more likely to use TikTok, are less supportive of a ban than their older counterparts. Nearly half of people ages 18 to 34 reported being on TikTok, compared to 12 percent of respondents ages 55 and older.

“As for those who support the ban and those who have specific concerns regarding TikTok, these are primarily older Canadians who do not use TikTok,” said Christian Bourque, executive vice president of Leger.

Among younger Canadians, 42 per cent favor a ban, compared to 59 per cent of those aged 55 and older.

Bourque said messages from the United States from politicians pushing legislation to ban the app could be influencing opinions north of the border.

He said that “the fact that TikTok’s ownership is outside the United States, and specifically in China, is what fuels a lot of the concerns south of the border.”

“Anyway it looks like it’s coming to Canada.”

TikTok is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese technology company ByteDance Ltd. The concern behind the US bill is that the Chinese government could demand access to US consumers’ data from TikTok due to national security laws mandating organizations in China to help with intelligence gathering.

The bill, which has yet to be approved by the US Senate, would ban TikTok unless ByteDance sells its stake in the business.

The Canadian national security review is unrelated to the US bill and was launched without public disclosure in September. The government has indicated that TikTok would be subject to “enhanced scrutiny” through a new policy on foreign investment in the interactive digital media sector.

In Leger’s survey, 56 percent of Canadian respondents said they had heard of national security concerns related to TikTok in different countries.

Nearly three-quarters of those aware of those reports said they were concerned, but the majority, 56 percent, have not changed the way they use TikTok.

While 21 percent have reduced the amount of time they spend on the app, only seven percent have abandoned TikTok entirely. Bourque noted that that equates to less than one per cent of Canadians.

In total, 26 percent of respondents said they are on TikTok, while 33 percent of those with children said they allow their children to use the app.

In Canada, the app appears to be significantly less popular than social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which are used by 83 and 58 percent of respondents, respectively.

But when it comes to protecting their personal data, social media users are also more skeptical of the most popular apps. More than three-quarters of Facebook users and 70 percent of Instagram users said they were concerned about data protection. That compares to 66 percent of those on TikTok.

“It seems like Canadians in general are concerned about social media,” Bourque said. “It seems to be something that goes beyond what they’ve seen or heard specifically about TikTok.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2024.

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