White House issues TikTok ban for federal agencies

By 
 February 28, 2023

According to the Washington Times, the White House has just ordered federal agencies to remove TikTok from all government devices. 

For those unfamiliar with TikTok, it is a social media app that has come under increasing scrutiny, here in the United States, because of the fact that it is owned by China. Concerns have been raised about the ability of China's communist government to use the app to spy on and manipulate Americans.

China disputes all of this, despite the fact that insiders have claimed that China has, at the very least, accessed user information.

There have long been calls to ban TikTok here in America. Initially, these calls were met with skepticism - particularly from the Democrats - but now momentum appears to be moving towards a ban on TikTok.

The White House's order

On Monday, through the Office of Management and Budget, the Biden administration released guidance calling upon federal agencies to remove TikTok from all government devices within the next 30 days.

"No later than 30 days following the issuance of this memorandum, agencies shall . . . Remove and disallow installations of a covered application on IT owned or operated by agencies, except in cases of approved exceptions," the guidance reads, in part.

Elsewhere, the guidance makes it clear that "this memorandum applies to 'the social networking service TikTok or any successor application or service of TikTok developed or provided by ByteDance Limited or an entity owned by ByteDance Limited.'"

The "No TikTok on Government Devices Act"

The guidance released by the Office of Management and Budget follows up on the "No TikTok on Government Devices Act" that was passed in December.

The Act does allow for certain exceptions, including "for law enforcement activities, national security interests and activities, and security research."

Prior to Monday's guidance from the Office of Management and Budget, the White House had already banned TikTok from the devices of all personnel. Some agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State have also restricted the apps use.

Now, the remaining federal agencies are being asked to do the same.

"Securing our digital infrastructure

The Office of Management and Budget, alongside the guidance, put out a statement referring to the guidance as a "critical step forward in addressing the risks presented by the app to sensitive government data."

Another statement on the matter was released by Chris DeRusha, the federal chief information security officer.

He said:

The Biden-Harris Administration has invested heavily in defending our nation’s digital infrastructure and curbing foreign adversaries’ access to Americans’ data. This guidance is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy.

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