Australia, Philippines Leaders See No Reason to Restrict TikTok Amidst Trump Ban

TikTok, the popular short-form video sharing app, isn’t facing any immediate ban in Australia and Philippines as the leaders of the two countries see no reason for doing so. While Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that “there’s no evidence” that such a step is needed, the Philippines administration said that it saw “no reason” to ban the app in the country. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump signed an order banning US companies to stop doing business with TikTok parent ByteDance. The order comes into effect in 45 days. India has already banned TikTok over security concerns.

While India and the US are concerned about the Chinese-origins of the short-video app, Australian leader Morrison didn’t show any intention to follow in the footsteps of PM Modi or US president.

“We’ll obviously keep watching them [TikTok], but there’s no evidence to suggest to us today that that is a step that is necessary,” said Morrison at the Aspen Security Forum that was held via Zoom earlier this week. “There’s nothing at this point that would suggest to us that security interests are being compromised or Australian citizens are being compromised.”

Similarly, Philippines administration also appears to agree with Morrison. At a press briefing earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque said: “We see no reason to ban TikTok here in the Philippines” (translated). The spokesperson added, “For those saying that the President suppresses free speech, he does not ban any website.” 

Back in June, the Indian government had banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok and WeChat, to “protect national interest and security”. In July, India reportedly banned 47 more Chinese apps that were operating in the country as clones or Lite version of the previously banned apps.

Trump on Thursday announced a sweeping ban on all US transactions with China-based ByteDance, along with Tencent, operator of the WeChat app, starting in 45 days. This comes as part of the US administration’s effort to remove “untrusted” Chinese apps from digital networks in the country. Trump’s executive orders also called TikTok and WeChat “significant threats.”

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