New York City Bans TikTok on Government Devices Due to Security Concerns
New York City has joined several other US cities and states in banning popular short video-sharing app TikTok on government-owned devices. The ban was imposed on Wednesday, with officials citing security concerns. With over 150 million American users, TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, has been under scrutiny by US lawmakers who fear potential influence from the Chinese government.
According to a statement from New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, TikTok posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks. As a result, all city agencies are required to remove the app within 30 days. Employees will lose access to the app and its website on city-owned devices and networks. New York State had previously banned TikTok on state-issued mobile devices.
TikTok has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing or sharing of user data with the Chinese government. In a response to the ban, the company stated that it has taken significant measures to protect user privacy and security.
Top US security officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director William Burns, have expressed concerns about TikTok’s potential threat. Wray had previously warned that China’s government could exploit TikTok to control software on millions of devices and manipulate narratives to divide Americans. Former President Donald Trump had attempted to ban new downloads of TikTok in 2020, but court decisions prevented the ban from taking effect.
Many other US states and cities have also restricted the use of TikTok on government devices. Montana recently passed a bill banning the app statewide, although it is currently being legally challenged and set to go into effect on January 1.
A recent Reuters/Ipsos survey revealed that nearly half of American adults support a ban on TikTok.
Despite the bans and restrictions, TikTok remains one of the most popular social media platforms globally, with a particularly strong following in the Philippines and other countries.