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DICT favors regulating TikTok in PH

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said Monday it is open to regulating social media platform TikTok, as well as other applications that could possibly be used for illegal activities.

DICT Undersecretary Jeffrey Dy made the remark following the filing of a bill in the House of Representatives seeking to ban “foreign adversary-controlled” applications in the Philippines such as TikTok.

Dy, however, said that such applications that could possibly be used for espionage, should be regulated first and banning them could come later on, if necessary.

“We welcome the passage of laws that would allow the President of the Republic to control or regulate applications which are being used for such purposes,” the DICT official said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.

Aside from TikTok, Dy revealed that the DICT is also monitoring messaging app Telegram as it is allegedly being used to leak database information from hacked government websites.

He also noted that Facebook is also now being used to sell even newborn babies, citing reports of a one-week-old infant that was being sold for P90,000.

“'Yung mga ganyan kasi, dapat proactively kaya nating i-regulate or kahit i-takedown man lang ang mga sites and handles that are being used for illegal activities,” Dy said.

(We should be able to proactively regulate or take down even the sites and handles that are being used for illegal activities.)

He said DICT currently has a good relationship with social media platforms and what the agency could only do so far is to appeal to these platforms toe ensure they are not used for illegal activities.

“Pero actually, it doesn't deny the fact na nakikiusap tayo. We do not regulate. Kailangan talaga natin ‘to,” Dy said.

(But actually, it doesn't deny the fact that we are appealing. We still do not regulate. We really need to regulate.) 

“Of course if you regulate them and they do not follow you, then the next step or the maximum step is to ban. Doon talaga mapupunta ‘yun kapag hindi ka sumusunod [that’s what happens if you don’t follow],” he added.

House Bill 10489, filed by House Deputy Majority Leader Bienvenido Abante of Manila, seeks to prohibit app stores and internet hosting services from enabling distribution, maintenance, or updating of a “foreign adversary-controlled” application.

Abante claims that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, "reveals a connection to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese government that cannot be overlooked."—Giselle Ombay/RF, GMA Integrated News