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'No Evidence' TikTok Abuses Data, Canberra Says as Chinese Envoy Adds Forced Sale Flouts Free Market

The Australian Prime Minister made the comments at his address at a major security event in Colorado, where he said that Canberra had concluded the social media platform did not pose any immediate concerns after having "a good look" at possible security threats.

There was no evidence backing claims that TikTok was 'misusing' on the data of millions of its users, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said at the Aspen Security Forum on Tuesday.

"There are plenty of things that are on TikTok that are embarrassing enough in public, but it's that sort of social media device," PM Morrison said in a videoconference call.

Despite this, he urged Australians to be "very aware" that both Chinese social media platforms such as TikTok as well as US firms were mining large amounts of data from users.

But he added that information on Chinese platforms "can be accessed at a sovereign state level", but cautioned that there was "nothing at this point" indicating that data had been abused.

"There is no reason for us to restrict those applications at this point. We'll obviously keep watching them," he added.

Forcing TikTok Sale Violates "Free Market Principles" In US - Chinese Envoy

Speaking to the Aspen-based forum, Chinese envoy to the US, Cui Tiankai, said that forcing TikTok to sell to Microsoft violated US free market principles.

"There is such a degree of political intervention - government intervention - into the market, there is such discrimination against Chinese companies, and these companies are just private companies. To accuse China of not giving American companies a level playing field while at the same time they themselves are denying Chinese companies such a level playing field, this is extremely unfair," he said at the time.

The news comes after US president Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok's owner ByteDance in the US if it failed to sell its US branch to Microsoft or another domestic firm by 15 September, citing national security threats.

​Microsoft announced this week that it was in talks to acquire ByteDance's US operations but the two tech firms have paused negotiations to await further clarification on the White House's position. Rumours on US media Axios surfaced that Apple had also expressed interest, but Apple and ByteDance later denied the claims.

President Trump also said that he expected the US Treasury to receive a "substantial portion" of the purchase, which Chinese media slamming the move as a "theft" of Chinese private firms.

UK media also reported that ByteDance could relocate its headquarters to London, with some government ministers stating it would be "absurd" to to block the Chinese firm.

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