Australia examines popular Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok for possible risk to users due to potential foreign interference and data privacy concerns, government sources told Reuters .
Owned by Bytedance, TikTok has opened an office in Australia in recent weeks. Interior and attorney general offices discuss TikTok operations, sources said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was “looking into” TikTok, which also fell under US control of “national security risks”.
“If we consider that there is a need for more action than the one we are taking now, I can tell you that we will not be shy about it,” Morrison told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Friday.
Meanwhile, Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, chair of a parliamentary inquiry into foreign interference in social media, identified TikTok as needing further investigation, noting that 1.6 million young Australians have used the app.
“Some of these approaches to moderate content may not correspond to Australian values,” she said on ABC radio.
“For example, removing material from Tiananmen Square, or prioritizing material from the Hong Kong protests,” she added, referring to student protests in Beijing in 1989 and the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in during the past year.
Two of the three directors of the new Australian operation TikTok are senior executives of the Chinese parent company ByteDance, according to information published by Reuters.
TikTok Australia general manager Lee Hunter, who was recruited by Google in June, wrote to Australian politicians saying that TikTok was “used as a political football”.
It was “essential that you understand that we are independent and not aligned with any government, political party or ideology,” the letter said, adding that TikTok Australia data was stored securely in Singapore and the United States .
Last week, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared with an impersonator in a video posted on the popular social media app.
(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
(This story has not been edited by GalacticGaming staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)