US federal staff to delete Tiktok in 30 days in new directive
The White House has issued a new directive requiring all federal government employees to remove TikTok from their work devices on basis that the app could be used by the Chinese government to spy on the US.
In the memo sent by Shalanda Young, director of the agency in charge of overseeing agency policies and the federal budget, all federal employees have 30 days to uninstall TikTok from their work phones, laptops, and computers.
The ban is in response to a Congress vote in December last year seeking to prohibit federal employees from using the video-sharing app on government devices over national security concerns. Several other agencies including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department, have already banned staff from accessing TikTok using government devices.
Talks on whether to completely ban the app in America are still ongoing. The House Foreign Affairs Committee will be voting on several Chinese-related bills and one of them is on whether TikTok should be banned in the country.
"My bill empowers the administration to ban TikTok or any software applications that threaten US national security. Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the Chinese Communist Party a backdoor to all their personal information. It's a spy balloon into your phone," Committee chair, Representative Mike McCaul (R-TX) said.
The move is being supported by SEVERAL key figures in the government including FBI Director, Chris Wray. However, the move to completely ban the app is likely to face resistance owing to its huge popularity. The video-sharing app has been downloaded over 210 million times in the US and has over a billion users worldwide.
The American Civil Liberties Union has already come out to condemn the move stating that it would be a violation of the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans who use the app to communicate and express themselves daily.
TikTok has been at crossroads with the Western governments for a while now mainly due to its affiliations with China. Its parent company, ByteDance is Chinese owned and operated.
Outside the US, Canada and the European Parliament have also required that government employees remove TikTok TikTok from their work devices.