- REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
- The US Army has barred soldiers from using TikTok on government phones and devices.
- A spokeswoman told Military.com the policy change was made because TikTok represented a “cyberthreat.”
- TikTok has been the subject of increasing unease from US lawmakers because of its Chinese ownership and increasing popularity.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The US Army has barred its soldiers from using TikTok following mounting fears from US lawmakers that the Chinese tech company could pose a national security threat.
Military.com was the first to report the new policy decision, which is a reversal of the Army’s earlier stance on the popular short-form video app.
A spokeswoman told Military.com that the US Army had come to consider TikTok a “cyberthreat” and that “we do not allow it on government phones.” The US Navy took a similar decision to bar the app from government phones last month.
TikTok is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, and its links to Beijing have prompted intense scrutiny from US politicians as the app’s popularity has skyrocketed. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York successfully requested an Army investigation into the app’s handling of user data in November, and numerous reports have emerged of the platform censoring content it thinks could anger the Chinese government.
TikTok has strenuously denied any allegations of Chinese state influence, and in its first transparency report claimed that China had made zero censorship requests in the first half of 2019.
Numerous reports have surfaced that the company is exploring strategies for distancing itself from its Chinese roots, including a US rebrand, building a headquarters outside China, and selling off a majority stake in its business.