On February 28, the White House issued a memorandum giving federal employees 30 days to remove the TikTok application from any government devices. This memo is the result of an act passed by Congress that requires the removal of TikTok from any federal information technology. The act responded to concerns that the Chinese government may use data from TikTok for intelligence gathering on Americans.
I’m Not a Federal Employee — Why Does It Matter?
The White House Memo clearly covers all employees of federal agencies. However, it also covers any information technology used by a contractor who is using federal information technology. As such, if you are a federal contractor using some sort of computer software or technology that is required by the U.S. government, you must remove TikTok in the next 30 days.
The limited exceptions to the removal mandate require federal government approval. The memo mentions national security interests and activities, law enforcement work, and security research as possible exceptions. However, there is a process to apply for an exception – it is not automatic.
Even if you are not a federal employee or a government contractor, this memo would be a good starting place to look back at your company’s social media policies and cell phone use procedures. Do you want TikTok (or any other social media app) on your devices? Many companies have found themselves in PR trouble due to lapses in enforcement of these types of rules. In addition, excessive use of social media in the workplace has been shown to be a drag on productivity.