Government staff told to delete TikTok from their devices
In a clear ratcheting up of tensions, the US government has this week mandated that all federal staff delete TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media app, from government-issued mobile phones. Reports reveal that the White House is giving US federal agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices amidst concern that the app’s parent company, ByteDance, could be mining user data — such as browsing history and location – and giving it to the Chinese government for propaganda or misinformation purposes. The Beijing government has rejected this, and responded to the move by calling the ban an “abuse of state power”. But Congress passed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” in December, securing bi-partisan support for it. TikTok has also responded by saying it has “no way” of knowing whether its users are government employees or not. Commentators are so-far divided over whether using TikTok really does constitute a security risk, while others note that the information it collects is probably no different from other social media platforms, such as Facebook.