Australian government has already banned social media video app TikTok from government devices.
A senate committee investigating how foreign powers use social media to interfere in Australia has recommended a swathe of rules and restrictions for social media platforms, including potentially banning Chinese messaging service WeChat on government devices.
Tuesday’s report contains 17 recommendations including new transparency rules enforceable by fines, expanding an existing TikTok ban on government devices to contractors and investigating a ban on WeChat on government devices.
Companies like TikTok and WeChat posed “unique national security risks” because their parent companies, ByteDance and Tencent, are headquartered in China and subject to its national security laws, committee chair Senator Paterson in a statement.
“Platforms like TikTok and WeChat that are subject to the control of authoritarian regimes illustrate the broader cyber security risk to sensitive government information,” he said in a statement. The commission also recommended that Australia assist developing countries in the Indo-Pacific to resist “malicious information manipulation” by authoritarian states.
The five-member Foreign Intervention Committee via Social Media, led by Liberal Senator James Patterson, also includes two members of the ruling Labor Party, but the report’s recommendations are not binding.
The prime minister’s office and the interior minister did not respond to requests for comment.