Albanese confirms ‘no plans’ to block TikTok in Australia

TikTok - Anthony Albanese

“We’ll take advice, but we have no plans to do that. I think you’ve got to be pretty cautious.”

Australia has “no plans” to block Chinese-owned app TikTok, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed.

“We’ll take advice, but we have no plans to do that. I think you’ve got to be pretty cautious,” he said during an interview with WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda on Thursday.

“You’ve always got to have national security concerns front and centre, but you also need to acknowledge that for a whole lot of people, this provides a way of them communicating. And so, we haven’t got advice at this stage to do that.”

The short-form video app has more than 170 million users in the US and 8.5 million in Australia.

Albanese’s response comes after the US House of Representatives passed a law giving ByteDance, the platform’s parent company, six months to divest or sell its stake in TikTok. If ByteDance does not comply, it will be illegal for app stores such as Apple’s App Store and Google Play to host the platform.

In a statement to Mediaweek, a TikTok spokesperson said the prime minister’s position on the matter was welcomed.

Any changes to TikTok in Australia would have a significant impact on the 350,000 businesses and more than 8.5 million Australians who use the app to connect and grow their businesses. 

“Action being taken in the US is not based on fact, and we are hopeful that the US Senate will consider the impact on the millions of small businesses and 170 million Americans who use the service.”

Meanwhile, opposition leader Peter Dutton told Sky News Australia’s The Kenny Report that the prime minister “has a responsibility to act”.

“If photos of young kids are being scraped from their accounts and stored by a third party, whether it’s a country or state actor or whether it’s an organised crime group, then the prime minister has to act,” Dutton said.

“If data is being scraped by the terabytes off these accounts and young people are exposed to extortion at some point, or if their personal data is being collected, if it’s not a safe platform, the prime minister has a responsibility to act.”

“So far, I don’t think he’s shown the leadership or the strength of leadership to be able to make the decision that’s in our country’s best interest.”

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