US House Bans TikTok On Lawmakers Official Phones

US House Bans TikTok On Lawmakers Official Phones

The US House of Representatives has directed its staff and lawmakers to remove TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices.

The order to remove the app was issued by the Chamber's director of administration, Catherine Spindar, whose office warned in August that the app posed a "high risk to users" due to "numerous security threats."

"Domestic workers may not download the TikTok app on any household mobile device," according to a memo sent out by Spindar on Tuesday, seen by NBC News. "If you have the TikTok app on your home mobile device, you can delete it."

The new ban follows a series of moves by US state governments to remove TikTok, developed by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, from government devices over fears the Chinese government could use the data to track Americans. or influence the application. What users see in the app.

As of last week, 19 states, including Texas, Georgia, Maryland, South Dakota, South Carolina and Nebraska, have at least blocked the app for government devices out of fear the Chinese government could use it to track Americans and censor content. content. . The US military has banned its troops from using TikTok on government devices over concerns the app could reveal personal information to "unwanted entities."

A broader measure aimed at banning the app on all federally run devices was included in the $1.66 trillion federal spending bill passed last week, which will take effect after President Joe Biden signs it into law. .

In response to the spending bill, TikTok said the move was "a political gesture that does nothing to protect national security interests." TikTok did not immediately respond to TechCrunch's request for comment.

Similar attempts are also being made to block TikTok on user devices in the US.

Earlier this month, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced legislation to ban TikTok across the country. Introducing the bipartisan bill, Rubio said the app would give the Chinese government "a unique ability to track more than a billion users around the world, including nearly two-thirds of American teens."

“Unless TikTok and its algorithm break away from Beijing, US use of the app will continue to threaten our national security and pave the way for a Chinese-influenced tech landscape,” he said in a Washington Post article.

TikTok has been a source of security and privacy concerns for several years. Last week, ByteDance admitted that its employees used journalists' user data to find the source of leaked information about the company.

TikTok may soon be banned from all US government phones.