TikTok was prohibited on government-owned smartphones in New York City on Wednesday due to security concerns, following other American cities and states that have imposed similar limitations on the short video sharing app.
There have been increasing calls from American lawmakers for a national ban on TikTok, which is used by more than 150 million Americans and is owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance due to worries about potential Chinese government interference.
TikTok “posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks,” according to a statement from the Eric Adams administration of New York City.
Employees will no longer have access to the app and its website on city-owned devices and networks if the app is not removed by New York City agencies within 30 days. On mobile devices provided by the state, TikTok was already prohibited in New York.
According to TikTok, it “has not shared, and would not share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government, and has taken substantial measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users.”
TikTok poses a threat, according to senior U.S. security officials like FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director William Burns. TikTok, according to Wray, “screams” of national security issues, and the Chinese government could use it to manipulate software on millions of devices and promote narratives that divide Americans, he added in March.
In 2020, former President Donald Trump attempted to stop new TikTok downloads, but a slew of court rulings prevented the ban from going into effect.
TikTok usage on government-owned smartphones is forbidden in many American states and towns. Recently, Montana enacted a law that will outlaw the app statewide on January 1; the law is currently being contested in court.
According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos study issued on Wednesday, over half of American adults support a ban on TikTok.