According to an internal notice sent to the staff of the House of Representatives – obtained by CNN from the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer – TikTok has been banned from any and all electronic devices used and owned by members of the House of Representatives and prospective staff.
The notice stated that the app must be uninstalled from any House mobile device if it’s already installed. This is due to the government’s view of TikTok being a “high risk to users due to a number of security risks.”
The US government has also been in talks to ban TikTok from all federal devices in the near future. This ban is a part of a piece of legislation included in the omnibus bill recently signed by President Joe Biden. More than a dozen states throughout the US have also already implemented their own restrictions and prohibitions on TikTok on government devices.
While TikTok hasn’t made any official comment regarding this recent ban on House devices, the company previously stated that the government’s moves to ban the app is a “political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests.”
One of the biggest concerns coming from lawmakers regarding TikTok involves the social media app’s parent company, ByteDance.
US policymakers are concerned about national security and the risk of the Chinese government pressuring either TikTok or its parent company into acquiring, using, and sharing personal information specifically from its US users.
This information is thought to be potentially used for Chinese intelligence operations or the sharing of disinformation backed by China’s government.
While there hasn’t been any direct instances or attempts of these security breaches occurring, the platform did confirm last week that four employees were fired for accessing user data on TikTok from two journalists.
The battle between the US government and TikTok has been ongoing since 2020, when the app truly began rising in popularity; partially due to the pandemic and quarantine restrictions that left citizens at home yearning for entertainment.
Both the government and the platform have been working on negotiations to resolve any potential national security risks so that the app can continue to be used by US citizens.
“The potential agreement under review covers key concerns around corporate governance, content recommendation and moderation, and data security and access,” TikTok has stated.
For now, the US government is moving forward with its plans to ban the social media platform from all government used/connected devices, with the potential for wider bans to be implemented in the future.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.