The US Army has banned TikTok, an increasingly popular video-sharing platform, from using on government-issued mobile phones. The ban comes in a short while after the United States Navy had prohibited sailors from using TikTok on government devices over cybersecurity worries as well.
It is believed that the app may collect data from the US users. The Army spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa, said that TikTok was “considered a cyber threat” and that they “do not allow it on government phones.” However, TikTok states that its user data is located outside of China and that it has strong policies on data privacy.
Earlier, the social networking service was often used for recruiting purposes and reaching young people up until November. In the middle of December, the Army began warning soldiers about the potential threat of the app. Around the same time, the United States Department of Defense released a cyber awareness message.
As an Army spokesperson stated:
There was a Cyber Awareness Message sent out on 16 December that identifies TikTok as having potential security risks associated with its use. The message directs appropriate action for employees to take in order to safeguard their personal information. The guidance is to be wary of applications you download, monitor your phones for unusual and unsolicited texts etc. and delete them immediately and uninstall TikTok to circumvent any exposure of personal information.
The Army cannot prohibit its personnel from using TikTok on their personal phones, but it is suggested that soldiers pay careful attention to unfamiliar text messages.