Time’s Ticking For TikTok

TikTok has been banned on government devices and may soon be banned in the United States.



TikTok has recently been banned on all government devices, but may soon be banned altogether in the U.S.

Lauren Smith, Managing Editor

TikTok has been one of the world’s most popular social media platforms for years, but it may soon be banned in the United States due to security concerns.

TikTok is owned and operated by a Chinese technology company called ByteDance which has raised concerns in recent years in regards to national security concerns. Lawmakers and experts worry that the Chinese government can access personal data for those in the United States from the app.


According to a report from Foreign Policy, TikTok collects a lot of data including users’ names, ages, phone numbers, email addresses, details about the devices and mobile networks they’re using, keystrokes, messages on the app,

The major concern is that TikTok is a foreign company compared to other U.S platforms like Facebook and Google that have access to similar information. Bruce Schneier, a lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government who specializes in privacy issues shared his thoughts on this with Foreign Policy:

“We’re already used to tech companies having this enormous amount of access to our personal life,” Schneier. “By extension, the U.S. government has that access, and so how do we feel about another country having that access?”

Though TikTok has admitted that its data can be accessed by employees in China raising concerns that this data could be shared with the Chinese government. Even though TikTok isn’t required to do so, their parent company ByteDance may be compelled to.

Concerns around TikTok primarily in regards to national concerns being leaked have turned into numerous bans in recent years. With the U.S. military banning the app on its devices three years ago, and companies like Wells Fargo doing the same in 2020.

In early December, Texas Governor Greg Abbot banned TikTok from state government-issued cell-phones and other states like Alabama, Georgia and Virginia have placed similar bans.

The bans in these states have extended to state schools with anyone using campus Wi-Fi at University of Oklahoma and Auburn University are blocked from using the app.


As a response TikTok created a U.S. based team to help ease concerns and show the safety of the data they store.

Though this seemed to not work as intended because on December 28, 2022 President Joe Biden approved a TikTok ban for the federal government’s nearly 4 million employees on devices owned by its agencies.

Security officials hope that these bans show their concerns toward the app and encourage them to negotiate security agreements to make it more trustworthy though TikTok has denounced any of these bans as seen in their recent company statements:

“We’re disappointed that Congress has moved to ban TikTok on government devices — a political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests — rather than encouraging the Administration to conclude its national security review,” TikTok said in a company statement.

Though these bans avoid security concerns to a certain extent you can still access the app through a web browser, and have brought attention to nationwide data security no matter the company. Vilas Dhar, the president of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, a grant-making organization that focuses on the social impact of technology told NBC News in an interview:

“We don’t have a credible public approach to data privacy in America today, ” Dhar said. “That means the American people are interacting every day with possible threats to their privacy, and we don’t have a regulatory system to respond to that.”

Although TikTok hasn’t been banned it definitely sparks speculations in regards to security concerns and for now is a personal preference of who you are comfortable accessing your data. The bans haven’t seemed to stop tens of millions of Americans who are avid users, but the clock may be ticking for TikTok.