Reuters reports that last week, the US Navy banned TikTok from government-issued mobile devices, as it represented a “cybersecurity threat,” and employees were ordered to remove the app “to safeguard their personal information.”
The bulletin noted that devices that had the short video sharing app installed would be blocked from the Navy Marine Corps Intranet. The move, according to a Pentagon spokesman who issued a statement to Reuters, is part of an effort to “address existing and emerging threats”. Other social media apps are generally allowed on government-issued devices in the US.
Last month, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States launched an inquiry into the acquisition of the social media app Musical.ly by Beijing-based tech firm ByteDance for $1 billion two years prior. According to CNBC, the government organization had concerns about how user data was being handled — and whether Chinese authorities could access it.
It seems like part of a larger theme, of growing suspicion around China’s efforts to spy on people and organizations in the US. In May, telecom giant and phone maker Huawei was blacklisted by American authorities over security concerns — the underlying reason being that Chinese government agencies are believed to have the ability to influence companies based in the country to snoop on customers, or hand over data.
We’ve contacted TikTok to learn more and will update this post when there’s a response.