Congress Bans TikTok App From Government-Issued Phones

Members of Congress and their staffers will no longer be able to use TikTok. According to the New York Post, the House passed a vote that bans federal employees from downloading the Chinese-owned app to their government-issued phones.

The measure was passed by a 336-71 vote.

The U.S. government currently characterizes TikTok as a “mass surveillance and propaganda” facilitator. The vote comes at a time where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States is considering banning the app altogether because of the security risk.

“We’re certainly looking at [banning TikTok],” Pompeo said, via CNBC. “We’ve worked on this very issue for a long time. Whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure, we’ve gone all over the world and we’re making real progress getting that out. We declared ZTE a danger to American national security. With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cell phones, the United States will get this one right too.”

TikTok is based in Beijing and owned by the tech company ByteDance. It has been downloaded over 110 million times in the United States.

The company, however, claims that its servers are based out of China and that they are committed to transparency for its users. The app is also not available within China.

“At TikTok, we take these issues incredibly seriously as well. We are committed to transparency and accountability in how we support our TikTok users in the US and around the world,” the statement from TikTok read. “TikTok does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China. We have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked. Period.”

TikTok was first launched in 2017 and is available for download on iOS and Android devices. Earlier this year, TikTok hit one billion downloads globally with the app available in over 150 markets and 75 languages.

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