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US to Ban Use of TikTok App on Government Devices

Proposal included in big defence spending bill to be voted on this week, after more US states also ban use of China’s contentious short-video app


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.
Many US agencies, such as the White House and the Defence, Homeland Security and State departments, already ban TikTok from state-owned devices. Plus 19 of the 50 US states have at least partly blocked access on state computers to the video app. Reuters file image.

 

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.

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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

 

 

ALSO SEE:

Kids Turn to China’s TikTok as West’s YouTube Falls Behind

TikTok Won’t Vow to Stop Sharing US Data to China – CNN

TikTok Says Australian Data Can Be Accessed in China

US Troops Using China’s TikTok Risks National Security, says FCC

TikTok Employees Urged to Play Down Chinese Origins: Gizmodo

Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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