Skip to main content
  • Share to or

‘Crucial for deterring Russian aggression’ The campaign to block TikTok in Ukraine

Source: Meduza
Mario Tama / Getty Images

On June 10, a petition appeared on the website of Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers calling on the country’s authorities to block the video-sharing app TikTok. The document has already gathered nearly half of the signatures necessary for lawmakers to be required to consider it. It argues that because TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is Chinese, and China is one of Russia’s partners, the app could pose a threat to Ukraine’s national security. The initiative comes just two months after Washington gave the Chinese firm an ultimatum, giving it nine months to sell TikTok to an American company if it wants to avoid a block in the U.S. Here’s what we know about the campaign to ban TikTok in Ukraine.

A new petition published on the Ukrainian government’s website calls on the country’s lawmakers to block TikTok for the sake of national security. The document asserts that China openly collaborates with Russia and supports it in its war against Ukraine. It also says that Chinese law allows companies to collect information about TikTok users that can subsequently be used for espionage and intelligence purposes. Additionally, the author says that China has the ability to influence ByteDance’s content policy, including by using TikTok to spread propaganda messages or launch algorithm-driven disinformation campaigns.

The petition cites comments made by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb about how China has purportedly used its cyber capabilities to steal confidential information from both public and private U.S. institutions, including its defense industrial base, for decades. It proposes blocking TikTok on Ukrainian territories and banning its use on phones belonging to state officials and military personnel.

The signature collection period for the petition began on June 10. The document’s author is listed as “Oksana Andrusyak,” though this person’s identity is unclear, and Ukrainian media have had difficulty determining who she is. Nonetheless, the petition garnered about 9,000 signatures in the campaign’s first two days, and as of this article’s publication, it has nearly 11,000 supporters. To be officially considered by Ukrainian lawmakers, the document must receive a total of 25,000 signatures within three months.

This isn’t the first time the Ukrainian authorities have discussed banning TikTok. In April 2024, people’s deputy Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, the head of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on Freedom of Speech, said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine that such a ban would be well-founded. “If our partner country imposes such sanctions, then so will we,” he told journalists, referring to the possibility of a TikTok ban in the U.S.

It’s currently unclear whether Ukrainian lawmakers already have plans to block TikTok. According to Forbes Ukraine, however, there is legislation in development that would impose new regulations on social media sites and messenger services, including TikTok.

Sign up for Meduza’s daily newsletter

A digest of Russia’s investigative reports and news analysis. If it matters, we summarize it.

Protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

  • Share to or