The US government has enforced a unique ban, restricting TikTok usage on federal devices. This action, part of a recent spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Biden, arises from ongoing national security worries about ByteDance, the China-based owner of TikTok.
The ban primarily affects federal government-issued devices due to fears that the Chinese government might exploit TikTok for data access. TikTok expressed disappointment over the move, seeing it as a symbolic political gesture rather than a genuine advancement of national security interests.
US apprehensions about TikTok aren’t new, and this step follows failed attempts by the Trump administration to ban the app in 2020. Despite these setbacks, bipartisan efforts for app regulation gained momentum in 2022 following reports of ByteDance employees accessing US TikTok user information.
Critics argue that while the potential for China to misuse TikTok access is concerning, other apps also offer similar access to user data to governments. Legislation has been proposed to limit TikTok’s use or ban it entirely, but these moves are met with resistance due to free speech concerns and potential repercussions for US businesses abroad.