US military has banned social-media app TikTok

Nearly the whole US military has banned the social-media app TikTok. Air Force and Coast Guard also believe that the app is a security risk. TikTok exploded into a social-media sensation last year by pushing the lighthearted videos of dance-offs, hedgehogs giggling and puppets singing about the chicken nuggets. Now politics is putting that formula of frivolity to the test.

When the US Army, Marines and Navy all put the kibosh on TikTok, you knew it was just a matter of time before other US military branches followed suit and sure enough, they have. The Air Force and Coast Guard have confirmed to Wall Street Journal that they no longer allow TikTok on government-issued devices. And it’s not yet clear that the ban is truly comprehensive (the recently established Space Force hasn’t weighed in), but it effectively leaves no ‘safe’ space for TikTok on military hardware.

US officials have encouraged to uninstall the app. Air Force and Coast Guard didn’t provide any specific reasoning for the ban, but it’s likely to be consistent with earlier bans. TikTok‘s ownership concerns might leave it susceptible to pressure from the Chinese government to hand over sensitive data, although the company recently said that China didn’t request any info in the first half of 2019.

Spokeswoman Maj. Malinda Singleton told the Wall Street Journal, some of the issues are not unique to any one social media platform. Hostile governments could theoretically recruit the people through social networks, and the chances that personnel could inadvertently reveal the military secrets or expose themselves to attack.