US House Tells Lawmakers, Staff to Delete TikTok From Their Phones

If you work in the US House of Representatives and you have a government-issued phone, your TikTok days may be over.

The omnibus spending bill recently signed(Opens in a new window) by President Joe Biden includes a ban on using TikTok on government-issued devices. According to the bill text, agencies have 60 days to write rules banning that social media service “or any successor application or service developed or provided by ByteDance” on government hardware, with exceptions for law-enforcement, national-security, and security-research cases.

The House of Representatives has already moved to crack down on the app’s use. As Reuters reports(Opens in a new window), the House Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) notified lawmakers and their staff that TikTok must be deleted from devices managed by the House because it’s “high risk due to a number of security issues.”

Those who have TikTok on House-issued phones will be asked to remove it and future downloads will be blocked, Reuters says. (Those affected could, of course, purchase their own smartphones and download the app that way.)

The US government has been battling it out with TikTok for several years. Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) originally introduced legislation(Opens in a new window) in 2020 to ban the app from government-issued devices, citing cybersecurity concerns and “possible spying” by the Chinese government. It passed the Senate unanimously in August 2020, but ultimately stalled after then-President Trump signed two executive orders that moved to ban the app entirely in the US.

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Those efforts also fizzled out eventually, and President Biden rescinded the EOs once he took office. And while the Biden administration is reportedly hammering out an agreement(Opens in a new window) with TikTok to resolve national security concerns, lawmakers tried again this year by inserting the ban into a larger spending bill. This comes after almost two dozen states have also banned the application on state-issued devices.

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