TikTok may face a ban in the Philippines if it poses a threat to national security, a top security official said on Thursday.
According to a report from the Philippine Star, National Security Council (NSC) Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya reiterated in a radio interview the possibility of banning TikTok in the country.
Malaya echoed the statement of National Security Council Director General Eduardo Año, who said the government is still studying the risks of TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, amid concerns that it could be used for espionage or propaganda by Beijing.
“Iyong mga apps na ganyan may mga features na pwedeng gamitin para malaman ang galawan ng gumagamit — ang location, iyong mga online behavior mo — that could possibly compromise national security,” said Malaya.
(Those kinds of apps have features that can be used to track the movements of the users — their location, their online behavior — that could compromise national security.)
However, Malaya stressed that the current investigation of TikTok is focused on usage by state personnel connected to the military, police, and other security agencies. The agency is urging government employees to refrain from installing and using the app on government-issued devices.
TikTok has over 42.8 million users in the Philippines as of January of 2023. It has repeatedly denied that it shares user data with the Chinese government or censors content that is critical of China.