() — The White House has ordered federal agencies to remove the TikTok app from all government devices within 30 days.
Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in guidance issued Monday that all executive agencies, and those with which they contract, must remove any app from TikTok or its parent company, ByteDance, within 30 days after notice. Within 90 days, agencies must include in contracts that the short-form video app cannot be used on devices and must cancel any contracts that require use of the app.
The Biden administration’s guidance memo will see the executive branch and its contractors comply with a bill passed late last year that requires federal agencies to stop using TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. The move marks the latest effort to clamp down on the app amid renewed security concerns over its US user data and fears that it could find its way to the Chinese government.
The bill passed quickly through Congress in December and was included in the massive year-end spending package.
Reuters first reported on the targeting.
US officials have raised concerns that the Chinese government could pressure ByteDance to hand over information collected from users that could be used for intelligence or disinformation purposes. As previously reported, independent security experts have said that such access is a possibility, although no incidents of such access have been reported to date.
Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok, called that ban “little more than political theater.”
“The TikTok ban on federal devices was passed in December without any deliberation, and sadly, that approach has served as a model for other governments around the world,” Oberwetter said in a statement, adding: “We hope that when it comes to addressing issues nationals”, security concerns about TikTok beyond government devices, Congress will explore solutions that will not have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans.
Canada announced it would also ban the app on government devices starting Tuesday, and the European Commission last week issued its own ban on the app on official devices, citing cybersecurity concerns.
More than half of all US states have also partially or fully banned TikTok on government employee devices, and the US House of Representatives previously announced that it had restricted the app on managed electronic devices. For the camera.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will be the only witness at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing scheduled for late March.
China says US instruction on TikTok is ‘abuse’
China said on Tuesday that the US is extending the concept of national security, abusing national powers by suppressing the use of the Tik Tok app.
China opposes the latest action against Tik Tok by the US government.
On Tuesday, Mao Ning, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, responded to a question after the announcement, saying the United States is “generalizing the concept of national security,” “abusing national power,” and “irrationally suppressing security companies.” other countries”.
Mao added that the US government must provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory environment for companies from all countries to invest in and operate in the United States.
“As the most powerful country in the world, the US should have more confidence in itself instead of being so afraid of an app that young people love,” Mao said.
— ‘s Brian Fung and ‘s Mengchen Zhang in Beijing contributed to this report.