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U.S. Army: Chinese App TikTok A ‘Cyber Threat,’ Soldiers Banned From Using It
PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 26: In this photo illustration the logo of Chinese media app for creating and sharing short videos, TikTok, also known as Douyin is displayed on the screen of a smartphone in front of a Chinese flag on December 26, 2019 in Paris, France. The social media app TikTok developed by Chinese company ByteDance continues its meteoric rise and exceeded the milestone of 1.5 billion downloads. Tik Tok now surpasses Facebook and Instagram.
Chesnot/Getty Images

The U.S. Army has now banned soldiers from using the popular Chinese app TikTok after determining it to be a cybersecurity threat.

“It is considered a cyber threat,” Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa said of the situation. “We do not allow it on government phones.”

According to, Army recruiters were using TikTok as of two months ago “as an effective tool for reaching young people of Generation Z even as lawmakers were calling for a national security review of the music video app.”

The Beijing-based company ByteDance owns TikTok. The U.S. Navy has put out guidelines similar to the Army regarding its use.”As of mid-December, the Army began advising soldiers to stop using TikTok on all government-owned phones,” reported the outlet. “The U.S. Navy recently put out similar guidance, prohibiting the use of TikTok on government phones, according to reports by Gizmodo and other publications.”

“The services cannot ban personnel from using TikTok on their personal phones, but Army leaders recommend that service members use caution if they receive random or unfamiliar text messages,” it continued.

As The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra reported in early November, the United States government opened an investigation into the app to determine it posed a national security threat due to how “the company stores the personal data of its users and whether it is censoring politically sensitive content.” Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) prompted the investigation.

“With over 110 million downloads in the U.S. alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore,” the senators wrote at the time. “Given these concerns, we ask that the Intelligence Community conduct an assessment of the national security risks posed by TikTok and other China-based content platforms operating in the U.S. and brief Congress on these findings.”

The investigation came shortly after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticized TikTok for censoring political content that reported offended the sensibilities of officials in Beijing.

“While our services like WhatsApp are used by protesters and activists everywhere due to strong encryption and privacy protections, on TikTok, the Chinese app growing quickly around the world, mentions of these protests are censored, even in the U.S.,” Zuckerberg said. “Is that the internet we want?”

The argument that the Chinese use TikTok to censor speech was backed up in part by a report in The Washington Post showing that Hong Kong protesters were gaining little no traction on the app in comparison to other social media platforms.

“Researchers have grown worried that the app could also prove to be one of China’s most effective weapons in the global information war, bringing Chinese-style censorship to mainstream U.S. audiences and shaping how they understand real-world events,” The Post reported. “Compounding researchers’ concerns are TikTok’s limited public comments about the content it removes and its purported independence from censors in Beijing.”

In a letter t this past October, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that TikTok has been used to silence important speech critical of the Chinese government.

“These Chinese-owned apps are increasingly being used to censor content and silence open discussion on topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government and Communist Party,” Rubio wrote at the time. “These topics include Tiananmen Square, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other issues.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  U.S. Army: Chinese App TikTok A ‘Cyber Threat,’ Soldiers Banned From Using It