US moves to reduce use of TikTok – the short video app accused of being a security risk and a source of misinformation – have continued this week.
Early on Tuesday, lawmakers included a proposal to bar federal employees from using the Chinese app on government devices in a key spending bill.
The Senate voted last week on a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Josh Hawley to bar federal employees from using the app, owned by ByteDance, on government devices, in the latest crackdown on Chinese companies.
The ban was included in a huge omnibus measure to fund US government operations that is expected to be voted on this week.
The bill gives the White House Office of Management and Budget 60 days “to develop standards and guidelines for executive agencies requiring the removal” of TikTok from federal devices.
The proposal last week won the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
19 States Also Block Access
TikTok has said the concerns are largely fueled by misinformation. However, the legislation would not impact the more than 100 million Americans who use TikTok on private or company-owned devices.
Many federal agencies, including the White House and the Defense, Homeland Security and State departments, already ban TikTok from government-owned devices.
Also on Monday, state agencies in Louisiana and West Virginia became the latest to ban the use of TikTok on government devices over concern that China could use it to track Americans and censor content.
Some 19 of the 50 US states have now at least partially blocked access on government computers to TikTok. Most of the restrictions came within the past two weeks.
In 2020, Republican then-President Donald Trump attempted to block new users from downloading TikTok and to ban other transactions that would have effectively blocked the app’s use in the United States but lost a series of court battles.
The US government Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a national security body, has for months sought to reach a national security agreement to protect the data of US TikTok users, but it appears no deal will be reached before year’s end.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard