Social media applications sometimes become popular for a short period of time and then die off, but few have the enduring power of TikTok. TikTok, which merged the features of Vine and YouTube, quickly became one of the most popular applications of all time after its first success following the acquisition of Musical.ly. The fact that it is owned by a Chinese company has also made it a target of criticism, and not only from Trump’s administration. Now, following a spying scandal, the US government is moving to restrict the app.
TikTok has been essentially forbidden from installation on any government-owned gadget by Congress. For starters, earlier this week the United States House of Representatives barred TikTok from installation on devices it oversees, claiming a “high danger to consumers” due to possible security threats. This action should be seen as a warmup for what is to come for ByteDance.
The anti-TikTok provision was included in the $1.7 billion omnibus funding measure that President Biden signed into law yesterday. The omnibus bill will require the Biden administration to provide guidelines for the app’s removal from most federal devices by the middle of February. The House’s ban does away with the exemption for members of Congress and their employees. If a member of the House downloads TikTok and instals it on a device that is handled by the IT department, they will be requested to uninstall it.
ByteDance took these measures after dismissing four workers for illegally following two journalists from Forbes. Despite mounting calls for the United States government to crack down on TikTok and its parent firm, only these legislative efforts aimed at Congress have been enacted so far. Attempts have been made to create legislation that would prevent the use of TikTok on any device in the United States, although it is uncertain if such a bill has a chance of making it through the House and Senate.
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