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The White House has given federal agencies 30 days to remove the social network TikTok from all government electronic devices, CNN reported.
According to the TV network, the order was given by the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Shalanda Young, in a memo issued Monday and addressed to all government agencies and their private contractors.
Federal agencies have 30 days to remove any TikTok applications from devices, and include in their contracts a prohibition on using this social network on their devices for security reasons.
In doing so, President Joe Biden’s administration is complying with a bill passed in Congress late last year that requires federal agencies to suppress TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, due to fears that user data could fall into the hands of the Chinese government.
U.S. officials have expressed concern that the Chinese government may pressure ByteDance to hand over information it obtains from TikTok users, which could be used for intelligence or disinformation purposes, according to CNN.
The television network claimed that TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter issued a statement calling such a ban “little more than political theater.”
“The ban of TikTok on federal devices passed in December without any deliberation, and unfortunately that approach has served as a blueprint for other world governments. These bans are little more than political theater,” Oberwetter said in the statement.
“We hope that when it comes to addressing national security concerns about TikTok beyond government devices, Congress will explore solutions that won’t have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans,” she added.
This Monday, the Canadian government also announced that as of today it will ban federal employees from using the TikTok app on official cell phones for posing an “unacceptable” risk to their privacy and security.
Similarly, the European Commission last week issued its own ban on the app on official devices, also citing security concerns.