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U.S. Army Bans Soldiers From Using TikTok

U.S. Army Bans Soldiers From Using TikTok

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The Topline: The U.S. Army has banned soldiers from using TikTok on their work mobile phones out of security concerns over the Chinese-owned video app.

  • According to an Army spokesperson, TikTok is considered a cyber threat and is no longer allowed on government-issued phones.
  • Soldiers were directed to uninstall the app in mid-December, although the military cannot ban personnel from using it on their personal phones.
  • The U.S. Navy made a similar call last month, announcing that users with government-issued cell phones would be blocked from accessing from the Navy Marine Corps Intranet if they had TikTok downloaded.
  • It comes after months of concern from Congress that Tiktok’s parent company, Beijing-based unicorn ByteDance, could be forced to comply with intelligence gathering by China and share their data on U.S. citizens who use the app with the government.
  • However, ByteDance said it stores all U.S. TikTok user data within the United States with backups in Singapore, meaning this data was not subject to Chinese law.

Key background: TikTok grew to be massively popular in 2019. The app, which allows users to create and share edited videos, reportedly surpassed 1.5 billion downloads last year.

TikTok has been criticized for censoring user content about issues sensitive to China’s communist government. In November, a teenager’s video about alleged human rights abuses towards Uighur Muslims by Chinese authorities was taken down before being reinstated; TikTok called it “a human moderation error.”

In December, TikTok released the results of their first transparency report, showing how many requests they received from governments and law enforcement agencies. No requests from China were reported for the period of time the report covered, the first half of 2019.

Last year, TikTok agreed to pay a record-breaking fine of $5.7 million after allegations it illegally gathered the personal data of children younger than 13.

Just months ago, American military recruiters were still using TikTok to reach Generation Z.

 

This article was written by Carlie Porterfield from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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