US Army bans TikTok app from government phones

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Mounting security concerns push military further from TikTok.


James Martin/CNET

The US Army has banned TikTok from use on government phones, reversing its policy on the entertainment app which it recently used as a recruiting tool. The move, which was reported earlier by Military.com, follows guidance from the Pentagon. The US Navy also banned the Chinese app from government-issued mobile devices earlier this month because of cybersecurity concerns.

Owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, TikTok has drawn concern from US officials who worry that China’s companies are under the thumb of the country’s government and could use its products for spying. 

“The Army is following (Office of the Secretary of Defense) guidance on this,” an Army spokesperson told CNET Tuesday. “There was a Cyber Awareness Message sent out on 16 December identifies TikTok as having potential security risks associated with its use. The message directs appropriate action for employees to take in order to safeguard their personal information. The guidance is to be wary of applications you download, monitor your phones for unusual and unsolicited texts etc. and delete them immediately and uninstall TikTok to circumvent any exposure of personal information.” 

Last month, the US Army prohibited cadets from using TikTok, after Sen. Chuck Schumer expressed worries about Army recruiting efforts that used the app. While the military can’t ban personnel from using TiKTok on their personal phones, the Army advises members to exercise caution if they receive unfamiliar text messages.

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