Defense chief weighs in on TikTok ban on gov't devices


Posted at Sep 14 2023 10:39 AM | Updated as of Sep 14 2023 11:29 AM

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MANILA — A potential ban of TikTok on government devices wouldn't be unique to the Philippines, Defense Secretary Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro said Thursday, after a security official urged the government to study the proposal.

In other countries, Teodoro said that free messaging apps could not be used on government-issued phones, especially for "defense employees, armed forces and even contractors of defense department and agencies of other governments abroad."

Jonathan Malaya, assistant director general of the National Security Council, said previously that Manila should study banning the Chinese social media app for security sector officials. 

"We should seriously consider for the security sector alone, not for the civilian agencies of government," Malaya said. "We will need to study this very carefully… based on national security consideration." 

Several countries, including the United States and New Zealand, banned TikTok on government-issued devices over concerns that the Chinese Communist Party could use the popular app for spying or propaganda.

Teodoro said he would let the information and communications technology department as well as other agencies "vet whether or not" TikTok "is actually a threat." 

"I know it is not unique and not only TikTok," he said.

TikTok is the third most used social media app in the Philippines as of January 2023, according to a study from Meltwater.