TikTok has suffered another major blow as Transportation Security Administration has told its employees to stop using the app. This is coming weeks after the army banned the use of TikTok on government owned phones. Per CBS News, TSA told users to stop using the Chinese-owned app to create social media posts for the agency.
Considering the popularity of the app among teens in the US, the government launched a national security review. This prompted New York Senator Chuck Schumer to send a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske over the weekend.
In a statement per CBS News on Sunday, the TSA said “small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA’s social media outreach, but that practice has since been discontinued.”
Schumer in his letter said experts in national security have expressed fears about how TikTok handles and collects data and personal information, locations and other content. Also in the letter, he noted that Chinese laws compels companies to cooperate with China’s government and intelligence collection.
“Given the widely reported threats, the already-in-place agency bans, and the existing concerns posed by TikTok, the feds cannot continue to allow the TSA’s use of the platform to fly,” Schumer said in a statement per The Associated Press.
The US Army fears that the app could compromise national security or could be used as surveil citizens of the US. A spokesperson for the US Army Lt. Col, Robin Ochoa told Military.com that TikTok is “considered a cyber-threat.” Prior to this decision, TikTok was being used by the Army as a means of recruiting members.
The US Navy had previously told its members not to add TikTok, and delete it from government-owned devices if they had already installed it. The Defense Department on its part instructed employees to “be wary of applications you download, monitor your phones for unusual and unsolicited texts etc., and delete them immediately and uninstall TikTok to circumvent any exposure of personal information.”
Lawmakers had last October called for an investigation into whether ByteDance-owned TikTok can be used by the Chinese government to collect users’ data or control the content that is being shared. Some senators specifically emphasized on the potential for the app to be used in election meddling and to silence protesters in Hong Kong.
A couple of weeks ago, Reuters reported that the US government was beaming its security investigation on the acquisition of TikTok by Chinese company ByteDance Technology. TikTok, a social media app that attracts 26.5 million monthly active users in the US, was acquired by ByteDance for $1 billion.