Eight months after TikTok’s former CEO Kevin Mayer quit his job as President Donald Trump criticized the app over its ownership by Chinese company Bytedance, the video-sharing app now has a permanent chief executive in the form of Singapore-based Shouzi Chew in what could be seen as a statement that the company no longer requires a US-based leader.
But despite the Trump administration’s efforts to either ban the platform or arrange the sale of its U.S. operations from its Chinese parent, the United States seems to no longer be fully considering banning the wildly popular app, at least at the moment. Instead, the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act,” legislation that was unanimously passed by the Senate last August and which seeks to ban the use of the TikTok app on federal government devices, is now moving forward in the House of Representatives.
TikTok an immediate security threat
The reason? National security issues. Josh Hawley, a Senator and bill sponsor, announced in a press statement on Wednesday that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously passed the bill that would ban US federal workers from downloading the popular app TikTok on US government devices. Hawley went as far as calling the company an immediate security threat. ”This should not be a partisan issue and I’m glad to see my colleagues in the Senate act together to address Beijing’s covert data collection campaign,” Hawley said in a statement after the vote.
From security to abusive data collection, Tik Tok has been the center of many controversies since the pandemic explosion of new users. India did the same but banned altogether the app, and other countries may soon follow. Sure, the app is fun and opens up the user to a huge new audience, but some security problems need to be addressed as soon as possible. There is also the visual aspect of a post on the platform, that might lead to some secrets or sensitive information being revealed to the public if the user works in a sensitive area. Governments need to take into consideration the human aspect of the workforce and preemptively encounter any future crisis.