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TikTok banned on devices issued by US House of Representatives

TikTok banned on devices issued by US House of Representatives

Politicians ordered to delete Chinese-owned social video app that House has said represents ‘high risk to users’

TikTok has been banned from any devices issued by the US House of Representatives, as political pressure continues to build on the Chinese-owned social video app.

The order to delete the app was issued by Catherine Szpindor, the chief administrative officer (CAO) of the House, whose office had warned in August that the app represented a “high risk to users”.

According to a memo obtained by NBC News, all lawmakers and staffers with House-issued mobile phones have been ordered to remove TikTok by Szpindor.

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

In August the CAO issued a “cyber advisory” labelling TikTok a high-risk app due to its “lack of transparency in how it protects customer data”. It said TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, “actively harvests content for identifiable data” and stores some user data in China. TikTok says its data is not held in China, but in the US and Singapore.

This month the US senator Marco Rubio, a former Republican presidential contender, unveiled a legislative proposal to ban TikTok from the US entirely. Rubio said it was time to “ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good”.

Biden has revoked presidential orders targeting TikTok issued by his predecessor, Donald Trump, which included requiring TikTok to sell its US business. However, the US Committee on Foreign Investment, which scrutinises business deals with non-US companies, is also conducting a security review of TikTok. According to a recent Reuters report, TikTok is offering to operate more of its US business at arm’s length and subject it to outside scrutiny.

The office of the House’s chief administrative officer and TikTok have been approached for comment.

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