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National security chiefs focus on TikTok risks

The Australian government is looking to the nation's top security agencies to determine if any actions should be taken against popular social media app TikTok.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the government and security agencies are aware of the White House's actions, with a new directive giving all US federal agencies 30 days to wipe the app off government devices.

Questions have been raised about the Chinese-owned social media app's data collection methods.

TikTok has previously stated it has never shared Australian data with the Chinese government, and that its security teams minimise the number of people who have access to data.

The department of parliamentary services has asked MPs to carefully consider security advice before installing apps such as TikTok on mobile devices.

Dr Chalmers said the government hasn't yet been advised to take the same action as its US counterparts, but it would act on the recommendations of security agencies.

"We'll take the advice of our national security agencies," he told ABC TV.

"But the advice to us hasn't yet changed."

Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil last year ordered her department to investigate how TikTok harvests data following concerns China can access the personal information of Australians.

Ms O'Neil has asked national security agencies to provide a range of options to tackle data collection by social media giants.

The report is expected to hit her desk in the coming weeks.

However, she has previously stated the government was not considering a national ban like that operating in India.

Opposition cyber security spokesman James Paterson says the government needs to act on the national security risks posed by TikTok.

Senator Paterson said the government needed to explain why it hasn't followed bans by the European Union, Canada and US who "regard the risks posed by TikTok as so unacceptable they cannot be mitigated by any other means".

"We are now falling behind our like-minded friends and allies who are taking concrete action to protect their citizens and their government users from these very serious security risks," he told AAP.

"If TikTok is not safe to be on the phone of an American or Canadian bureaucrat, the government needs to explain why it is safe on an Australian's."

China has hit back at the US, saying it firmly opposed the action.

"How unsure of itself can the world's top superpower be to fear a young people's favourite app like that?" foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.

"The US has been over-stretching the concept of national security and abusing state power to suppress foreign companies.

"The US government should respect the principles of market economy and fair competition ... and provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies."