What the House’s Tiktok ban means for ByteDance
The Future. Time’s running out for TikTok. The US House of Representatives recently banned the app from mobile devices issued by the House to its employees because TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, isn’t transparent enough about how they use customer data. If ByteDance can’t convince the government that their app is harmless — and it’s hard to see how they can — then TikTok might be in for widespread banning.
Don’t trust a hot streaming app
Catherine Szpindor, the Chief Administrative Officer of the House, issued the directive because her Office of Cybersecurity considers TikTok a major security risk.
- The app must be deleted from House-issued mobile devices and can’t be downloaded onto them in the future.
- Many members of Congress are currently present on TikTok. The ban won’t apply to senators, though some, like Marco Rubio, think the app should be banned in the Senate as well.
- A TikTok spokesperson said this move was purely “political signaling” rather than solving a practical concern since only a few House employees actually have TikTok… but of course, they would say that.
Just getting started
This ban is far from the first and likely not the last. Concerns regarding surveillance by the Chinese government have already led 19 US states to ban the app on government-owned devices. Moreover, the new omnibus spending bill will also restrict its use on the phones of some workers in the executive branch.
ByteDance insists that their user data isn’t stored in China and that they don’t share it with the Chinese government. But just last week, an internal investigation revealed that some ByteDance employees had accessed the TikTok data of some US journalists, despite the company’s insistence that they never target journalists or US government employees. Guess the app’s in for some even harder times.