White House orders federal agencies to remove TikTok

WASHINGTON D.C.: The White House has set a 30-day deadline for government agencies to remove the Chinese-owned app, TikTok, from federal devices and systems.

Reuters reported that Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young told all federal agencies that they must eliminate TikTok from phones and systems and prohibit internet traffic to and from the Chinese company.

The ban, which follows similar moves by Canada, the EU, Taiwan and more than half of US states, will only affect a small number of TikTok users in the US, but will further calls for banning the video-sharing app outright.

After an alleged Chinese spy balloon drifted over the US, national security concerns about China have increased in recent weeks.

In response, TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, said the concerns are fueled by misinformation and has denied using the app to spy on people in the US.

In December 2022, the US Congress voted to bar federal employees from using TikTok on government devices and gave the Biden administration 60 days to issue such directives.

"This guidance is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy," noted Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha, as quoted by Reuters.

Even before the vote, the app has already been banned by many government agencies, including the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department.

Meanwhile, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will vote on a bill allowing President Joe Biden to ban TikTok from all US devices.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it opposes the ban on TikTok.