The United States Has Given Government Agencies 30 Days to Implement a TikTok Ban.
Canada has also banned the software on employee devices, citing privacy and security concerns. Nevertheless, the ACLU has warned against additional attempts to outlaw TikTok for the general public.
The White House imposed a 30-day deadline for all federal entities to remove TikTok from government-issued smartphones on Monday.
Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, urged federal agencies to "delete and block installations" of the Chinese-owned social networking app and to "prohibit internet traffic" from government devices to the app in a memo.
According to Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha, "this guidance is part of the Administration's ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people's security and privacy."
Congress enforced the deadline after voting in December to prohibit government employees from using the app owing to claimed national security dangers, which TikTok's owner ByteDance denies.
Similar directives have been issued by more than half of the US states, as well as the European Commission, Taiwan, and, most recently, Canada.
Shalanda Young; Credit: Patrick Semansky; AP
The ACLU advises against outright bans on TikTok.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to vote on a measure on Tuesday that would give President Joe Biden additional authority to ban TikTok for all citizens. More than 100 million Americans use the app.
TikTok, according to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, "allows [China] to control and monitor its users while gobbling up Americans' data to be exploited for their harmful actions."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) came out against any move to outright ban TikTok on Monday.
"Congress must not censor entire platforms and strip Americans of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression," said Jenna Leventoff, senior policy counsel at the ACLU. "We have a right to use TikTok and other platforms to exchange our thoughts, ideas, and opinions with people around the country and around the world."
Canada has also banned TikTok from government devices.
Meanwhile, Canada has become the latest nation to prohibit TikTok use on all government devices, effective Tuesday. Canada's top information officer "determined that it presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security," the government announced on Monday.
This decision was "curious," according to TikTok, as it was made "without identifying any specific security issue or approaching us with questions."
Our take on the matter [OPINION].
Although this would, by definition, infringe on people’s civil liberties and their right to free self-expression, TikTok is an app that should be banned.
TikTok is a breeding ground for dangerous and harmful content. Many of its users, who are primarily children, take part in dangerous stunts and challenges that have led to hundreds of deaths. Cyberbullying and harassment are rampant on the platform, and the platform is frequently used by child predators to prey on kids.
TikTok has been proven to collect data from its users en-masse without their consent, later sending this data to China and the Chinese military.
One of the worst implications of the social media platform, however, isn’t as spoken about as frequently – its effects on the human brain. TikTok is one of the most addictive apps ever created, with a severe impact on attention span and focus, self-esteem and body image, sleep quality. The constant barrage of short, attention-grabbing videos can make it difficult for users to concentrate for extended periods of time. This can lead to a decrease in productivity, as well as difficulties with memory and learning.
Perhaps most concerning, however, is the potential for addiction to TikTok. Like other social media platforms, TikTok is designed to be addictive, with algorithms that keep users scrolling for hours on end. This can lead to a range of negative consequences, including a decrease in overall life satisfaction, social isolation, and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.