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TikTok banned from official devices managed by House

The House’s chief administrative officer banned TikTok from all mobile devices that the body manages this week, ahead of the federal government joining a growing number of states in prohibiting employees from having the app on their government-issued phones. 

Multiple news outlets reported that Catherine Szpindor, the head of the office responsible for providing House members, officers and staff with administrative, technical and operational assistance, sent a memo to all House lawmakers and staff on Tuesday, saying that the app is considered “high risk” due to multiple security issues. 

“House staff are NOT allowed to download the TikTok app on any House mobile devices,” the memo said, according to NBC. “If you have the TikTok app on your House mobile device, you will be contacted to remove it.” 

With the move, the House joined more than a dozen states and several federal agencies that had previously taken action to ban the app on government devices. 

The Hill has reached out to Szpindor’s office for confirmation. 

A ban on the app on all devices issued by the federal government is set to go into effect following President Biden’s signing of the $1.7 trillion omnibus government funding package. A bill to issue the ban was included in the package after the Senate unanimously approved it and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated she supported it. 

TikTok is owned by a Chinese-based company, ByteDance, and some lawmakers and officials have expressed concerns about the app’s security measures and potential for sharing data with the Chinese government. 

The Hill has reached out to TikTok for comment. 

A TikTok spokesperson has previously said in response to states banning the app on government devices that the company is disappointed with the actions, and insisted it is “categorically false” that any user data would be shared with the Chinese government. They also said the company is working with the federal government to improve its data protection policies. 

The social media platform has soared in popularity in recent years, especially among young people, and has more than 85 million users in the United States. 

The memo from the Szpindor states that anyone with TikTok on their device would be contacted about deleting it, and any future downloads of the app are prohibited, Reuters reported. 

A few lawmakers also introduced legislation earlier this month to ban the app nationwide.

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