The U.S. House of Representatives has ordered its staff to remove TikTok from any House-issued mobile devices and bar them from downloading it in the future, according to an internal memo obtained by NBC News.
The email, sent Tuesday by House Chief Administrative Officer Catherine L Szpindor, said the office’s cybersecurity unit found Tik Tok become “high risk to users due to many security risks”.
“House staff may not download the TikTok application on any House mobile device,” the memo said. “If you have the TikTok app on your home mobile device, we will contact you to remove it.”
TikTok, one of the most popular apps in the United States, is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. Tens of millions of Americans use it every day.
Many members of Congress also use TikTok as a way to communicate with constituents.but growing security concern That has prompted government officials to warn of the risks.
The 1.7trn (£1.4trn) omnibus spending bill passed by Parliament last week included a measure to ban TikTok on certain government devices.
It includes banning the use of video-sharing apps and any apps provided by ByteDance on all executive branch devices. It does not apply to MPs and their staff.
The House directive does not apply to the Senate, where some lawmakers, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio, have called for a complete ban on the app in the United States.
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned members of Congress after the midterm elections that the Chinese government could use TikTok to control users’ devices for influence or espionage purposes.
TikTok said it does not store U.S. user data in China or share information with the Chinese government, and said it was negotiating a deal with the Justice Department to address security concerns.
TikTok’s vice president and head of public policy for the Americas told NBC News: “We’ve been working with the federal government to find a solution that we believe will unquestionably solve whatever problems TikTok has.”
Representatives for TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the House ban.