White House orders federal agencies to ban TikTok from federal devices over communist spying concerns

News & Politics

The White House has ordered federal agencies to ban the popular social media platform TikTok from devices used for official government business.

Experts warn that the smartphone app collects private information through invasive software. ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, has denied claims that it passes on private information to the communist Chinese government.

Some states, including Texas and South Dakota, have already banned the platform from government devices over the privacy concerns.

“TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices—including when, where, and how they conduct Internet activity—and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in a statement January about the ban.

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“South Dakota is banning TikTok for state government. We will have no part in intelligence gathering for China, a nation that hates America,” said South Dakota Gov. Kirsti Noem, a Republican, in November.

One survey found a vast difference between popular trends on TikTok in China and those in the U.S. Former Google employee Tristan Harris told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that the version in China was far less destructive than the one in the U.S.

“It’s almost like they recognize that technology is influencing kids’ development, and they make their domestic version a spinach version of TikTok, while they ship the opium version to the rest of the world,” Harris explained.

“If you’re under 14 years old, they show you science experiments you can do at home, museum exhibits, patriotism videos and educational videos,” said Harris of the version in China.

The Office of Management and Budget called on agencies to delete the app from federal devices within 30 days.

Some critics are calling for a complete ban of the app in the U.S. There are an estimated 100 million adults and teenagers who use TikTok in the United States.

Here’s more about the U.S. federal ban on TikTok:

White House gives government agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from deviceswww.youtube.com

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