State-run China Daily’s “Media Unlocked” account has been banned on TikTok, PressOne.PH has learned.

The reasons for the takedown are unclear, but this happened days after Media Unlocked’s ripostes on Philippine media’s reporting of the TikTok account’s pro-Beijing narratives on the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Prior to this, a video attacking PressOne.PH became unavailable on TikTok after it was flooded by negative comments from viewers.

The TikTok account, which describes itself as a group of “China-based Journalists,” “Covering China & Global Issues,” has added West Philippine Sea issues to its content mix to counter media attention to the Philippine military’s resupply missions, which has been encountering harassment from Chinese vessels. The account had focused on negative press surrounding Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative and the so-called Chinese “debt trap.”

Media Unlocked’s videos have accused, without basis, the Philippines of sending “fake fishermen” to Scarborough Shoal, using the Philippine media to sensationalize the issue and attract the West’s attention, and of being an instrument of the US military agenda.

It has also falsely claimed that Manila has no legal basis to claim rights over Scarborough Shoal and Ayungin Shoal, despite the two features falling well within the Philippines’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone upheld by a 2016 international arbitration ruling.

While accusing the Philippine news media of unprofessionalism and lack of introspection, Media Unlocked has mixed opinion and news and presented its assertions as facts, and had no qualms labelling US President Joe Biden as Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos’s “sugar daddy.”

PressOne.PH also previously reported Media Unlocked’s use of artificial intelligence to enhance its videos.

Media Unlocked’s accounts on Facebook, YouTube, and X, which are not flagged as government media outfits, are still up, however. Felipe F. Salvosa II



This report was made possible by an Internews project to build the capacity of news organizations in understanding disinformation and influence operations in the Philippines.