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TikTok Ban on Government Devices Included in Budget Plan by US Legislators

In the early hours of Tuesday, legislators in the United States included a provision in a critical funding package that would prohibit federal government workers from using the Chinese app TikTok on devices controlled by the government.

The measure to prohibit federal workers from using the short video app owned by ByteDance on government-owned devices was put to a vote in the Senate the week before last. The bill was sponsored by Republican Senator Josh Hawley. It was the most recent move by politicians in the United States to tighten down on Chinese businesses on concerns for the nation’s security.

This week, a vote on a big omnibus legislation to finance the activities of the United States government is anticipated to take place. The prohibition is included in this measure. The law provides the Office of Management and Budget at the White House with a period of sixty days “to draft rules and recommendations for executive agencies mandating the removal” of TikTok from government equipment.

Reuters was the first news organization to publish the anticipated inclusion of the proposed prohibition in the law.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy both expressed their support for the measure throughout the previous week.

TikTok has said that the worries are mostly driven by disinformation, which has increased the concerns. The measure would have no effect on the more than 100 million people in the United States who use TikTok on devices that are owned privately or by their employers.

TikTok is already prohibited from being used on government-owned devices by a number of federal institutions, including the White House as well as the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State.

Also on Monday, state agencies in the states of Louisiana and West Virginia became the latest to restrict the use of TikTok on government devices due to concerns that China may use the app to follow Americans and censor material.

TikTok has now been at least partly restricted on government computers in about 19 of the 50 states that make up the United States. The majority of the limitations were imposed during the most recent two weeks.

In the year 2020, while he was still the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump made many unsuccessful attempts in the courts to prevent new users from installing TikTok and to prohibit other transactions that would have essentially prevented the app from being used in the United States.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is a body responsible for national security, has been trying for several months to reach a national security agreement to protect the data of TikTok users in the United States; however, it does not appear that this agreement will be reached before the end of the year.