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TikTok is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese technology firm ByteDance Ltd. Image Credit: Reuters

Ottawa: Canada is conducting a national security review of Chinese-owned TikTok's proposed expansion of the popular video app in this country, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Friday.

In a teleconference from Italy after meeting with his G7 counterparts, Champagne said the review under the Investment Canada Act had been quietly initiated in September 2023.

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"We have launched a national security review (of TikTok)," he told reporters.

"Once we have completed that," he said, "we'll inform Canadians about any actions that we decide to take with respect to that particular topic."

"I'll have more to say when our review is completed," the minister added without saying when that would be.

Champagne noted a March 2023 announcement that foreign investments in Canada's interactive digital media sector would face "intense scrutiny."

Those found to be "propagating disinformation or manipulating information in a manner that is injurious to Canada's national security" could face mitigation measures or even a ban, according to the policy statement.

The Canadian review is not related to a proposed US bill that would force its Chinese owners to sell or see it banned in the United States.

That bill is partly fuelled by concerns over Chinese national security laws that compel organisations to assist with intelligence gathering.

TikTok is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese technology firm ByteDance Ltd.

"We're watching, of course, the debate going on in the United States," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday after the US House of Representatives passed the bill, which still needs approval from the Senate.

Ottawa banned TikTok from federal government mobile devices in February 2023.