The New York City government is banning TikTok from all city-owned devices used by NYC employees, reports The Verge. City employees will be required to remove the app from their devices within the next 30 days. The NYC Cyber Command said that TikTok is a “security threat to the city’s technical networks.”
City employees are not only no longer allowed to download or use the TikTok app on city-owned devices, and they are also banned from accessing the TikTok website. TikTok was previously banned on New York state government-issued devices, but some employees were still allowed to use the app for marketing purposes.
“While social media is great at connecting New Yorkers with one another and the city, we have to ensure we are always using these platforms in a secure manner,” an NYC City Hall spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. “NYC Cyber Command regularly explores and advances proactive measures to keep New Yorkers’ data safe.”
New York City joins a growing list of government agencies that are banning the app from their employees’ devices.
In December 2022, The US House of Representatives administration banned TikTok from US government devices. The app was required to be immediately uninstalled from government devices that had it installed.
In June 2022, the US Federal Communications Commission suggested that the TikTok app be removed from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. The regulator said at the time that TikTok is a “sophisticated surveillance tool” for the Chinese government.
The government has concerns that U.S. TikTok data is stored in China, although TikTok owner ByteDance claims that is not the case.
Governments in the UK, European Union, Canada, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and several other U.S. states also prohibit TikTok on government devices. Montana actually bans TikTok downloads and usage in the entire state, but TikTok has sued the state.
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has confirmed that some of its China-based employees can access data from TikTok users in the United States. However, the company said that the employees are “subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols.”
President Trump signed several executive orders related to apps from China during his four years in office. One of the best-known orders in 2020 sought to ban short-form video app TikTok and WeChat. The apps are both owned by Chinese firms.
The Trump administration claimed that the apps posed a risk to national security. In the order, the Trump administration claimed there is “credible evidence” to suggest ByteDance “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”
However, the bans never went into effect, thanks to several court orders that blocked the restrictions.
In June 2021, US President Joe Biden revoked several executive orders from former President Donald Trump, among them were the bans on TikTok and WeChat in the United States.