Taiwan minister calls TikTok a 'national security threat', may extend existing govt ban to schools & other sectors

It is currently only banned for use across all Taiwanese government agencies.

Keyla Supharta | March 25, 2024, 05:44 PM



Taiwan has deemed popular social media platform TikTok a national security threat, Taiwan News reported.

During a legislative hearing on Mar. 19, Minister of Digital Affairs Audrey Tang claimed that "foreign hostile forces" have substantial control, not necessarily directly but indirectly, over the social media platform.

Citing national information security concerns, Tang labelled TikTok as a "dangerous product" in Taiwan.

May extend ban of TikTok

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, is currently banned for use among all Taiwanese government agencies.

The cabinet will consider extending the ban to schools, non-governmental agencies, as well as other spaces and sectors, said Tang.

TikTok invested to keep users' data safe

The statement came as TikTok is facing a potential ban in the United States (U.S.).

A bill was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Mar. 13, giving TikTok's parent company ByteDance six months to divest its U.S. assets or face a nationwide ban.

The potential new owner of TikTok cannot be based in a country that is considered a "foreign adversary" of the U.S., with North Korea and Russia cited as examples.

Though the bill still needs approval from the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress, the Senate, U.S. President Joe Biden said that he would sign the bill into law if it passes Senate approval.

However, some expressed concern that the bill may go against the Constitution by denying Americans the right to free expression and affect businesses in the U.S., reported The Washington Post.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, a Singaporean, stressed that TikTok has invested to keep users' data safe and that the platform is free from outside manipulation.

He added that the bill, if passed, will "take billions of dollars out of pockets of creators and small businesses. It will put more than 300,000 American jobs at risk and it will take away your TikTok."

Security threat

When asked if Taiwan's approach to banning TikTok will be the same as the U.S. where the popular social media app will be completely banned if its Beijing-based parent company does not divest in six months, Tang answered in affirmative.

Tang said as long as there are hostile foreign forces, they will be defined as a security threat under the new information security law.

Top image via Olivier Bergeron/Unsplash.