New York City Bans TikTok on Government Devices

    New York City Bans TikTok on Government Devices
    Last updated Aug 17, 2023
    Image credit: Unsplash


    • New York City announced on Wednesday that social media platform TikTok has been banned on city-owned devices, citing security concerns. City agencies must remove the app from their devices within the next 30 days and stop accessing the platform effective immediately.
    • The city joins 30 states and the US federal government in banning the Chinese-owned platform on government devices, with New York State banning the app in 2020. A City Hall spokesperson said a City Cyber Command review determined that the app posed "posed a security threat."
    • TikTok owner ByteDance has repeatedly denied claims that user data has been or could be shared with the Chinese government, saying US data are secured from foreign access. Montana passed a law in May to fully ban the app.
    • Mayor Eric Adams has also been critical of the effect TikTok may have on youth and crime, saying it amplifies bad behavior and can "use and exploit inner city conflicts to promote violence."
    • The account bios operated by city entities have been changed to reflect that they are no longer active. New York State's ban on TikTok carved out limited exceptions for accounts involved in public relations.
    • The US-TikTok dispute dates back to 2020 when then-Pres. Trump attempted to ban the app entirely. Efforts to have ByteDance divest from TikTok in the US entirely have been met with resistance by the Chinese government.


    Anti-China narrative

    A majority of Americans consider TikTok to be a national security threat. Chinese state-sponsored snooping is globally notorious, and there's no reason to take the company at its word that it's not violating the privacy of US citizens. It's just due diligence that an app that could facilitate spying by the Chinese Communist Party should stay off government devices. ByteDance should be forced to sell off TikTok if they wish to continue operating stateside.

    Pro-China narrative

    Leaders on both sides of the aisle are leading a cynical assault against TikTok to foment anti-China sentiment, with there being not one shred of evidence that the app is used for espionage purposes by China. TikTok collects no more data than American tech platforms but is under much more scrutiny. The TikTok crusade is bordering on hysteria, as US leaders ignore the grave privacy concerns posed by Western social media platforms.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 15% chance TikTok's US operations will be sold to an American entity by 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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