By Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New York City on Wednesday banned TikTok on government-owned devices, citing security concerns, joining a number of U.S. cities and states that have put such restrictions on the short video sharing app.
TikTok, which is used by more than 150 million Americans and is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, has faced growing calls from U.S. lawmakers for a nationwide ban over concerns about possible Chinese government influence.
TikTok “posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks,” the administration of New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.
New York City agencies are required to remove the app within 30 days and employees will lose access to the app and its website on city-owned devices and networks. New York State had already banned TikTok on state-issued mobile devices.
TikTok said it “has not shared, and would not share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government, and has taken substantial measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users.”
Top U.S. security officials including FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director William Burns have said TikTok poses a threat. Wray said in March that China’s government could use TikTok to control software on millions of devices and drive narratives to divide Americans, adding the app “screams” of national security concerns.
Former President Donald Trump in 2020 sought to bar new downloads of TikTok, but a series of court decisions blocked the ban from taking effect.
Many U.S. states and cities have restricted TikTok on government devices. Montana recently passed a bill banning the app across the state, a rule set to go into effect on Jan. 1 and being challenged legally.
Close to half of American adults support a ban on TikTok, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Jamie Freed)