TikTok, the wildly popular social media platform with over 85 million users in the United States, is facing a growing number of bans on federal and state devices amid concerns about the Chinese-based company ByteDance, which owns the platform. Last week, Congress introduced a measure that would ban TikTok from devices used by federal employees as part of the $1.7 trillion year-end omnibus bill setting out federal funding for the next year. Additionally, a number of state governments have banned TikTok from devices used by state government workers. While these bans may not extend to private devices, there are concerns that private companies may instruct their employees to keep the app off work phones due to fears of corporate espionage.
Lawmakers have expressed concerns that downloading the app could give the Chinese government access to devices used by government workers, potentially allowing it to collect data on American citizens. The FBI and Federal Communications Commission have also raised concerns that the app is being used to spy on Americans. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr argued that a Congressional ban on the app is the only way forward in light of such concerns. TikTok has denied the allegations and has pushed back against the bans.