US: White House gives federal agencies 30 days to enforce TikTok ban

The ban does not apply to businesses not associated with the federal government, or to the millions of private citizens who use the hugely popular app


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— AP file
— AP file

Published: Tue 28 Feb 2023, 1:47 PM

Last updated: Tue 28 Feb 2023, 1:49 PM

The White House on Monday gave federal agencies 30 days to purge Chinese-owned video-snippet sharing app TikTok from all government-issued devices, setting a deadline to comply with a ban ordered by the US Congress.

Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young in a memorandum called on government agencies within 30 days to “remove and disallow installations” of the application on agency-owned or operated IT devices, and to “prohibit internet traffic” from such devices to the app.

The ban does not apply to businesses in the United States not associated with the federal government, or to the millions of private citizens who use the hugely popular app.

However, a recently introduced bill in Congress would “effectively ban TikTok” in this country, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“Congress must not censor entire platforms and strip Americans of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression,” ACLU senior policy counsel Jenna Leventoff said in a release.

“We have a right to use TikTok and other platforms to exchange our thoughts, ideas, and opinions with people around the country and around the world.”

China’s foreign ministry slammed the ban.

“We firmly oppose the wrong practice of the United States to generalise the concept of national security, abuse state power, and unreasonably suppress firms from other countries,” spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Tuesday.

The law signed by US President Joe Biden last month bans the use of TikTok on government-issued devices. It also bans TikTok use in the US House of Representatives and Senate.

The Canadian government on Monday banned TikTok from all of its phones and other devices, citing fears about how much access Beijing has to user data.

Effective Tuesday, “the TikTok application will be removed from government-issued mobile devices. Users of these devices will also be blocked from downloading the application in the future,” the government said in a statement.

The European Commission banned the app from its equipment too.

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