Jagmeet Singh will deactivate TikTok account in response to security, privacy concerns

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Tuesday he'll deactivate his TikTok account in response to security concerns government officials have raised about the popular social media platform.

NDP leader has over 878,000 followers on popular social media platform

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks with reporters on Parliament Hill.
New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks with reporters during a news conference on Feb. 16 in Ottawa. Singh announced Tuesday that he's suspending his TikTok account due to security and privacy concerns. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Tuesday he'll deactivate his TikTok account in response to security concerns government officials have raised about the popular social media platform.

Singh has nearly 879,000 followers on TikTok. Singh said his party plans to deactivate the account by the end of the day Tuesday.

He said he's not worried the move will cost him political support in spite of his large following on the popular video-sharing platform.

Singh added the move is a "pause" and left open the possibility of reactivating the account.

"I have no concern at all about taking a step back from a social media platform when there are serious concerns around security, around data and privacy, not just for myself and for my own device, but the people that interact with me," Singh told a news conference.

"So taking a pause to assess how we can do it safely is something that I feel very comfortable doing, and I have no hesitation to do."

WATCH | Singh confirms he will suspend TikTok account:

Singh confirms he will suspend TikTok account

3 months ago
Duration 0:26
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his caucus will follow House rules and remove the app from their government issued devices.

On Monday, Treasury Board President Mona Fortier announced the federal government would remove and block TikTok from all government-issued work devices. The ban came following a review from Canada's chief information officer which "determined that [TikTok] presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security," Fortier said in a news release.

Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Fortier's office, said in an email to CBC that Liberal caucus members have been instructed to remove TikTok from all mobile devices and suspend their accounts.

The Quebec and British Columbia governments also have announced TikTok bans for government-issued phones.

TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, is based in Beijing. Several governments around the world have recently announced full or partial TikTok bans for work devices, including the United States and the executive branch of the European Union. TikTok insists it does not pose a security or privacy risk to its users.

Singh said Monday the party would remove the TikTok app from government devices.

Singh said Tuesday he would consult with digital and cyber security experts before making a decision about reactivating his account.

The United States Congress is debating a bill that would ban TikTok across the U.S. Singh said the Canadian government may eventually need to ban the platform across the country.

"If it turns out that it's a serious threat to Canadians and a serious threat to our country, then we've got to take the appropriate steps," Singh said.

House of Commons bans TikTok, Bloc deletes account

A spokesperson for the Speaker of the House of Commons said House of Commons administration has directed all users of House-issued devices to remove the TikTok app by March 3. 

"Any devices that continue to have the application installed at that time will no longer be able to access parliamentary infrastructure or internal digital services,"  Amélie Crosson said in an email.

Crosson added that failure to remove the app would be a breach of House of Commons information technology policies.

In a tweet Tuesday, the Bloc Québécois said party MPs and staff would comply and remove TikTok from their parliamentary devices.

The tweet added that the Bloc has deleted the party's TikTok account.

WATCH | Any social media app can be a privacy risk, experts say: 

TikTok bans grow amid privacy concerns

3 months ago
Duration 2:12
The number of governments and organizations banning TikTok is expanding in Canada, with the government of Quebec and the Bank of Canada the latest to bar the app over concerns about data security. That is making many individual users question their own use of the app.

A Conservative Party spokesperson said Monday that leader Pierre Poilievre and Conservative Party MPs would suspend their TikTok accounts.

Late Tuesday, the Senate issued a press release stating that all senators and staff members must remove the app from their work devices. The decision was made by the members of the upper chamber's internal economy and administration committee.

A Bank of Canada spokesperson said the central bank is also blocking TikTok on employees' work devices.


Richard Raycraft

Web writer and producer

Richard is a web writer with CBC News and an associate producer with CBC Radio. He's worked at CBC in London, Ont., Toronto, Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.