TikTok banned on New York City government-owned devices over 'security threat' concerns

TikTok has officially been banned on all devices owned by the New York City government in a move to prevent possible security breaches. 

According to The Verge, the first outlet to report on the ban, government agencies are required to remove the app from any of its devices within the next 30 days.

The popular video-sharing platform, which is owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance, has become a contentious topic particularly in the US due to its ties to China, with widespread concerns over how user data is handled.

The outlet reported that the ban was announced on Wednesday (local time) following a review by the Cyber Command, a division of the the New York City Office of Technology and Innovation. The review found TikTok "posed a security threat to the city's technical networks", an official told The Verge, with city employees - such as elected officials or appointed members of governing bodies - barred from downloading, using, or accessing the app from any government-owned smartphones or devices effective immediately. 

"While social media is great at connecting New Yorkers with one another and the city, we have to ensure we are always using these platforms in a secure manner," a New York City Hall spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge.

"NYC Cyber Command regularly explores and advances proactive measures to keep New Yorkers' data safe."

New York state banned TikTok on its state-issued devices back in 2020 through an internal policy, according to reports.

While a number of states across the US have already banned TikTok on all government-owned devices, in May a law was passed in Montana that will, as of next year, ban the app entirely statewide - the first to do so. TikTok sued the state shortly after in a bid to overturn the legislation, arguing it violates the First Amendment, or the right to freedom of speech.

For more than three years, the United States Congress has attempted to implement legislation banning TikTok nationwide, alleging the app and ByteDance can spy on Americans by collecting user data.

Several other countries, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the European Commission, have also banned the Chinese-owned app on government devices.

In March, it was revealed that New Zealand's Parliamentary Service had banned the app due to security concerns, with TikTok officially barred from all devices with access to the Parliamentary network as of April.