MANILA, Philippines – The United States' Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on Sunday, February 23, US time, that it has disallowed employees from using social media app TikTok to create posts for the agency, CBS reported.
The ban was enforced after New York Senator Chuck Schumer sent a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske on Saturday, February 22, saying that that the app has been flagged by national security experts for certain practices relating to the collection and handling of personal data. Schumer also mentioned Chinese intelligence laws that compel Chinese companies to cooperate with the government when asked – the same law that has cast a cloud over other Chinese tech companies such as Huawei and ZTE.
The letter may have been prompted by TSA actions on the app. The agency said that a "small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA's social media outreach, but that practice has since been discontinued."
While the agency reportedly said that it never published content directly on TikTok, several videos had been published on other TSA social media accounts that show the TikTok watermark. The videos adopt the common forms found on the youth-oriented social media platform, exploring topics such as what can and cannot be brought on an aircraft, and the agency's expedited screening program called PreCheck.
The Department of Homeland Security, the TSA's governing body, already banned TikTok among employees in January while the US military implemented a ban as well back in December 2019.