TikTok ban on gov’t phones included in federal funding bill

Politics

The TikTok logo is seen on a cellphone on Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

(The Hill) — A proposal to ban TikTok on government devices was included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill to fund the government, according to text released early Tuesday. 

In the Senate, the bill introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) passed unanimously last week. A spokesperson for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) later confirmed the top House Democrat supported efforts to include it in the funding bill.

The federal effort follows building momentum across GOP-led states to pass similar bills that ban the Chinese-owned app on state government devices.

Supporters of the efforts have said the app poses security risks. 

TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter told The Hill in a statement last week that “politicians with national security concerns should encourage the Administration to conclude its national security review of TikTok.” 

TikTok has been under fire over potential security concerns dating back to the Trump administration. 

Asked about the congressional proposal to ban TikTok on government devices last week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “we’re going to let Congress move forward with their process on this.”

TikTok is already banned on government devices at some federal agencies, including the White House.

Amid rising scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers and state governments, TikTok is planning to add its reasoning for why videos are recommended for users as part of a push for transparency.

The company said in a post on Tuesday it is rolling out a new tool in the upcoming weeks to add context to the content that is recommended in users’ “For You” feeds.

It said the system recommends content based on a variety of factors from a user’s activity on the app and adjusts for what they indicate they are not interested in.

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