Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Latest News News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology Videos World
The U.S. To Ban TikTok From Government Phones

Due to recent pushes by American lawmakers against the Chinese-owned social media app, Congress’ latest government spending bill will ban TikTok from most U.S. government devices. While the popular social media platform is already prohibited on many federal government devices, this new measure expands the ban. This development will likely result in a hit to TikTok’s reputation, especially with the Biden Administration already attempting a complete national security review of the app. 


For TikTok’s more than 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., this expanding prohibition is problematic, as the app’s ability to create instant viral hits has put it at the forefront of internet culture and communication. However, concerns about its ownership and data security have long weighed the platform down. 


If you’re one of those active users, fear not. Unless you’re a federal government employee who uses a work phone to browse TikTok, you’re free to scroll to your heart’s content. The White House, the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department have long forbidden their staff from downloading TikTok on government devices. This ban expands the policy that more than a dozen states have implemented in their governments. 


TikTok has been a lightning rod for Republicans and Democrats due to its owner, Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance. Lawmakers have reservations about the Chinese Communist Party using the app to spy on Americans, harvest user data, or use the app’s algorithm to amplify pro-China narratives. ByteDance denies any nefarious intentions, but national security experts worry China-based businesses’ requirement to give unfettered access to the authoritarian regime could prove dangerous.


Former President Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok, and federal lawmakers have proposed more punitive anti-TikTok bills, though no drastic movements have gained traction. The ban on national devices is an incremental restriction that many individuals hope will evolve in the coming years.


"I think some concern about TikTok is warranted," said Julian McAuley, a professor of computer science at the University of California San Diego, who noted that the main difference between TikTok and other social media apps is that user-specific recommendations drive TikTok.


"Arguably, this would mean that TikTok could be more open to that feed being manipulated to achieve some sinister goal," McAuley said.

As for evidence of TikTok being a national security threat, there isn’t much. The concern for TikTok is primarily foundedon hypothetical situations and the vulnerability it exposes. FBI Director Chris Wray has said TikTok is a national security threat, saying the app could "manipulate content, and if they want to, to use it for influence operations."


A Buzzfeed report found the TikTok owner ByteDance once employed another app under its umbrella to push content sympathetic to the Chinese government. Who’s to say they won’t do the same with TikTok?


Earlier this year, TikTok announced an initiative to route "100% of U.S. user traffic" to servers controlled by American tech company Oracle. TikTok said it is working on deleting U.S. users' private data from its servers and transferring it all to servers hosted in the U.S., with backup storage in Singapore. As valuable as user data is in today’s world, this initiative has lawmakers skeptical.


TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said the company is disappointed that Congress has moved to ban TikTok on government devices, calling the action "a political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests."


The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a powerful interagency federal panel that reviews foreign investment in the U.S., is investigating TikTok as we speak. Further government action will likely depend on their findings and recommendations. 


So, while everyday citizens still have the freedom to scroll to their heart’s content, regulation may be imminent if security issues prove unavoidable. Is it back to Instagram for the phone-addicted?

Share This Post On

Tags: #unitedstates #tikok


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in is a Global Media House Initiative by Socialnetic Infotainment Private Limited.

TheSocialTalks was founded in 2020 as an alternative to mainstream media which is fraught with misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. We have a strong dedication to publishing authentic news that abides by the principles and ethics of journalism. We are an organisation driven by a passion for truth and justice in society.

Our team of journalists and editors from all over the world work relentlessly to deliver real stories affecting our society. To keep our operations running, We need sponsors and subscribers to our news portal. Kindly sponsor or subscribe to make it possible for us to give free access to our portal and it will help writers and our cause. It will go a long way in running our operations and publishing real news and stories about issues affecting us.

Your contributions help us to expand our organisation, making our news accessible to more everyone and deepening our impact on the media.

Support fearless and fair journalism today.