New York City has banned the use of the popular video-sharing app TikTok on all government-owned devices. This decision is part of a broader trend across the United States, with numerous cities and states imposing similar restrictions on the Chinese-owned platform.
The ban comes amid increasing apprehensions about China’s influence on the app and its potential for interference. The administration of New York City Mayor Eric Adams has stated that TikTok poses a significant security threat to the city’s technical networks. As a result, government employees will lose access to the app and its website on city-owned devices and networks if the app is not removed within 30 days.
This move follows a wider call from American lawmakers for a nationwide ban on TikTok, which is used by over 150 million Americans. These calls have been fueled by fears of potential manipulation by the Chinese government.
Despite these concerns, TikTok has maintained that it has not shared, nor would it share, US user data with the Chinese government. The platform has also emphasized its commitment to protecting the privacy and security of its users through robust measures.
However, leading US security figures, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director William Burns, have expressed concerns about the app. Wray suggested that TikTok could be exploited by the Chinese government to manipulate software on numerous devices and spread divisive narratives among Americans.
In 2020, former President Donald Trump attempted to ban new TikTok downloads, but his efforts were blocked by multiple court rulings. Despite this, the use of TikTok on government-owned smartphones remains prohibited in many American states and cities. Montana, for instance, passed a law banning the app statewide starting from January 1, although the legality of this law is currently being challenged in court.
A recent Reuters/Ipsos study revealed that more than half of American adults support a TikTok ban, indicating a growing public concern over the app’s potential security risks.