Date: January 2, 2020
By: Lindsey O'Donnell
The U.S. Army this week has banned TikTok from government-owned devices as scrutiny over the platform’s relationship with China grows.
With backlash swelling around TikTok’s relationship with China, the United States Army this week announced that U.S. soldiers can no longer have the social media app on government-owned phones.
TikTok, a social media app used to create and share short form videos, is owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance. Despite its popularity with users and celebrities – the app touts over 1.3 billion installs worldwide – several incidents over the past year have caused privacy experts to question how data from TikTok is being collected, used and whether it is being censored by China’s government.
On Monday, the U.S. Army, which previously used TikTok as a recruiting tool for reaching younger users, announced it is issuing a ban on the app, according to Military.com, a website that provides news regarding military members and veterans.
The U.S. Army’s ban of TikTok comes after a similar ban was issued by the U.S. Navy earlier this year. The ban follows guidance issued Dec. 16 by the U.S. Department of Defense, which identifies TikTok as having potential security risks associated with its use, a U.S. Army spokesperson told Threatpost.
“The message directs appropriate action for employees to take in order to safeguard their personal information,” the U.S. Army spokesperson said in an email. “The guidance is to be wary of applications you download, monitor your phones for unusual and unsolicited texts etc., and delete them immediately and uninstall TikTok to circumvent any exposure of personal information.”