U.S. Military Bans TikTok


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Due to increasing concern about potential security risks related to the app’s Chinese ownership, the U.S. military has banned the use of the app on any military-issued device. TikTok has blown up over the past year and videos that show action shots of troops and artillery are typically set to go viral. The ban began in November when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to examine potential security risks posed by the app. McCarthy then ordered a security assessment followed by decisions from the Defense Department, Navy, Army, and Marines against the app. Shortly after representatives from the Air Force and the Coast Guard announced that members were not allowed to use TikTok on any government-issued devices. Officials also have urged troops and their dependents to delete the app from personal devices as well. 

The decision by the U.S. military to instruct their members to avoid the app is notable given that the branches do not commonly provide guidance on how or whether or not to use specific platforms. TikTok, as many popular apps, collects information about its users, including data that can be used to track location and movement. The app claims that the Chinese government has never requested access to its user data and that if such were the case, the information would not be shared. The debate upon whether or not the app, owned by a massive Beijing-based conglomerate ByteDance Inc.,  poses as a national security threat is being heavily weighed by U.S. officials.