New York City has joined the growing list of American jurisdictions that have banned TikTok from government-owned devices due to concerns over cybersecurity. The ban, which was announced on Wednesday, will affect several of the city’s own TikTok accounts. The city’s agencies and employees have been given a 30-day period to delete the app from municipal smartphones and devices. Furthermore, city-owned networks and computers will no longer be able to access the platform.
A spokesman for Mayor Eric Adams stated that the ban was imposed because TikTok “posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks.” This move follows a similar ban by New York State on state-issued mobile devices. More than 20 US states and numerous cities have also issued similar orders in recent months. In fact, the White House had already ordered all federal agencies to remove the app from government-owned devices back in February. This decree was later extended to cover government contractors.
Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) have claimed that TikTok has the potential to share user data with the Chinese government. However, TikTok maintains that it has not shared and would not share US user data with the Chinese government. The company has also taken substantial measures to protect the privacy and security of its users. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has accused the United States of “abusing state power to suppress foreign companies” and vehemently denies using TikTok for espionage purposes.
As a result of the ban, TikTok accounts belonging to Mayor Adams and the city’s Departments of Sanitation and Parks and Recreation now display the message “This account was operated by NYC until August 2023. It’s no longer monitored”, according to the New York Times. Prior to the ban, the Department of Sanitation’s TikTok account had amassed nearly 50,000 followers and received praise from local media for its unique blend of information and entertainment.
TikTok is currently the most-downloaded social media app in the United States, with more than a billion people worldwide using the platform each month. The popularity of the app has also grown in the country, with over 150 million TikTok users. Authorities in Montana are also preparing to implement a state-wide ban on TikTok, which is set to come into effect in January.
In conclusion, New York City’s ban on TikTok further highlights the growing concerns over the app’s cybersecurity. With more and more jurisdictions taking steps to restrict its use, the future of TikTok in the United States remains uncertain.