The U.S. Army and Navy have banned social networking app Tik Tok from all government-owned phones, according to a report on tech website The Verge.
The app, which is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company, is considered “a cyber threat,” according to Lt. Robin Ochoa, an Army spokeswoman.
A lawsuit filed in U.S District Court for the Northern District of California in November charged that “TikTok clandestinely has vacuumed up and transferred to servers in China vast quantities of private and personally-identifiable user data that can be employed to identify, profile and track the location and activities of users in the United States now and in the future.”
In addition, Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) previously requested that intelligence officials investigate Tik Tok to determine if it poses security risks to the U.S.
A Bloomberg report from Dec. 23 said that ByteDance is exploring a sale of its stake in Tik Tok in the wake of the controversy, but the company dismissed the report
A Dec. 30 posting on Tik Tok’s website defends the company, saying that while it takes “any request from government bodies extremely seriously” and is dedicated to “assisting law enforcement in appropriate circumstances,” it also respects “the privacy and rights of our users.”