A Navy bulletin sent to personnel declared that the video sharing app, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, would be banned from government-issued mobile devices as it posed a “cybersecurity threat.”
Anyone found to be using government-issued mobile devices who did not uninstall TikTok would be blocked from the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, the note said.
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In a statement sent to Reuters, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Uriah Orland said the order was part of an effort to “address existing and emerging threats”.
The “Cyber Awareness Message”, which was sent out to personnel on December 16, “identifies the potential risk associated with using the TikTok app and directs appropriate action for employees to take in order to safeguard their personal information.”
TikTok, which has over a billion users worldwide, has come in for increased scrutiny over the past months from US lawmakers as they look to clamp down on possible security threats.
Although popular mainly with teenagers, US army cadets were last month instructed not to use TikTok following concerns raised by Senator Chuck Schumer.
A Navy spokesman said Naval and Marine personnel who use government-issued smart devices are generally allowed to use popular commercial apps, including common social media apps, but from time to time specific programs that present security threats are banned. He would not give examples of apps that are allowed or those considered unsafe.
TikTok has not commented on the story, but its parent company is currently facing a national security review in the US following the $1 billion acquisition of American social media app Musical.ly last month.
Source: Tech Radar