The chief administrative office of the House issued a directive establishing TikTok, the popular social media app, as a security risk.
The US House of Representatives has ordered staff to delete TikTok from any House-issued mobile phones, according to an internal memo obtained by NBC News. The directive was reportedly issued by Catherine L Szpindor, the chief administrative officer of the House, and also bans the popular social media app from being downloaded on House-issued devices going forward.
The directive follows multiple other attempts to restrict the use of TikTok in the US over fears that the Chinese government could use the app to track and spy on people within the US.
The CAO’s Office of Cybersecurity believes TikTok presents a “high risk to users” due to a lack of transparency regarding how its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, handles customer data. “House staff are NOT allowed to download the TikTok app on any House mobile devices,” the memo said. “If you have the TikTok app on your House mobile device, you will be contacted to remove it.”
The House is not the first governing body to move on an official TikTok ban. The popular social media app has already been banned on government issued-devices by local administrations in 19 states. The news follows several attempts by the previous adminsitration to ban TikTok entirely in the US.
TikTok’s position has also not changed. The company is negotiating a deal with the Justice Department to resolve national security concerns. TikTok has long denied that its handling of user data is cause for concern, alleging that US user data is not stored in China and that information isn’t shared with the Chinese government.
Brooke Oberwetter, a spokeswoman for TikTok, said to The Wall Street Journal that the move was a political signal rather than a practical solution for security concerns, and claimed that the ban would have minimal impact because very few House-managed phones have TikTok installed.
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