The US House of Representatives prohibits TikTok use by lawmakers and staff

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: November 10, 2023
The United States House of Representatives Ban Lawmakers and Staff From Using TikTok
  • The U. S. House of Reps has ordered its lawmakers to delete the Chinese App TikTok.
  • This order came as a result of several security concerns with this video-sharing App.
  • In recent months, over a dozen U.S states have banned TikTok.

TikTok has gained popularity across different countries, allowing users to upload and share video content with others. However, the United States has expressed security concerns that the Chinese Government uses TikTok to track and spy on U. S. Citizens.

As a result of these potential security concerns, The U.S. House of Representatives has moved a motion to ban TikTok and has ordered its Lawmakers and Staff to delete this App from their personal and official mobile devices.

According to an internal memo, the House’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Catherine Szpindor, expresses that TikTok poses several security risks. Local administrations have banned this attempt to use TikTok in nineteen U.S. states amidst security concerns.

On December 23rd, 2022, the U.S. Congress passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that bans using TikTok on all mobile devices. This bill is issued to all employees in the executive branch of the Government. However, the bill to ban TikTok does not affect the Senate. President Joe Biden is expected to sign this bill into effect.

TikTok is classified as a “High-Risk” to United States citizens

In line with the memo, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) read, Szpindor explains that House members and staff are restricted from downloading and using TikTok. Also, anyone with the App on their House mobile devices will be asked to uninstall it.

This memo was not the first indication of the potential high risk of the TikTok app. In August 2022, the CAO released an advisory against using TikTok in China. That memo recommended the public not to download nor use TikTok due to “security and privacy concerns.”

According to the CAO office of Cybersecurity, TikTok is classified as “high-risk.” It is so because the Chinese App lacks transparency in protecting customer data, requires excess permissions, and the security risks associated with its use by United States Citizens.

Also read: Is TikTok safe for kids?

Nationwide petition to Ban TikTok

Banning TikTok did not start in 2022. There has been a long history of legislation passed to the U.S. congress to ban the TikTok app. And hence, TikTok users in the US keep looking for ways to unblock TikTok to be prepared.

In April 2020, A Republican Senator, Josh Hawley, made a petition to ban TikTok’s use on all executive-level devices. During his last Tenure, Former United States President Donald Trump made a nationwide ban on major Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat, QQ Wallet, and Alipay, over security concerns. However, these Chinese App bans were annulled by President Joe Biden. 

In December 2022, Senator Marco Rubio revealed bi-partisan legislation to ban TikTok across the United States. Rubio and other United States senators believe that TikTok is funneling user Data to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Also, when the memo was released last week, nineteen states, including South Dakota, Georgia, Texas, Nebraska, Maryland, and South Carolina, had partially blocked TikTok from House mobile devices. It was done over concerns that the Chinese Government would utilize the TikTok app to spy on American citizens and censor content.

Also read: How to make TikTok account private

TikTok seeks to negotiate with the United State Justice Department

While TikTok has risen to the top as the most popular social media platform, with an estimated one billion global users. Still, TikTok has publicly denied mishandling user data. Further, it alleged that United States user data is not stored anywhere in China nor shared with the Chinese Government.

However, TikTok is not about to lose a sizeable user base in the United States over these security concerns. So, in a statement following the passing of the spending bill, the Chinese company is ready to address any security concerns raised at the federal and state level meaningfully. 

The next couple of weeks or months could make or mar TikTok, as the Chinese company hopes to convince the United States Government that its App can be trusted.

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About the Author

Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah Hashim

Security Expert

Abeerah is a passionate technology blogger and cybersecurity enthusiast. She yearns to know everything about the latest technology developments. Specifically, she’s crazy about the three C’s; computing, cybersecurity, and communication. When she is not writing, she’s reading about the tech world.

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