The US House of Representatives has ordered its staff to delete TikTok from any House-issued mobile devices and forbidden them to download it in the future, according to an internal memo obtained by NBC News.
The email, which was sent by the House’s chief administrative officer Catherine L Szpindor on Tuesday, said the office’s cybersecurity unit had found TikTok to be a “high risk to users due to a number of security risks”.
“House staff are NOT allowed to download the TikTok app on any House mobile devices,” the memo said. “If you have the TikTok app on your House mobile device, you will be contacted to remove it.”
One of the most popular apps in US, TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which is based in Beijing. Tens of millions of Americans use it every day.
Many members of Congress also use TikTok as a way to communicate with their constituents. But rising security concerns have prompted government officials to warn about the risks.
A measure banning TikTok on some government devices was included in the $1.7trn (£1.4trn) omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week.
It included a ban on the video sharing app and of any application provided by ByteDance on all executive branch devices. It did not apply to members of Congress and their staff.
The directive from the House does not apply to the Senate, where some members, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio, have called for the app to be completely banned in the US.
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned members of Congress after the midterm elections that the Chinese government could use TikTok to control users’ devices for influence or espionage purposes.
TikTok has said it does not store US user data in China and does not share information with the Chinese government and says it’s negotiating a deal with the Justice Department to address security concerns.
TikTok vice president and Americas public policy head told NBC News: “We’ve been working with the federal government on a solution that we believe solves any perceived problem with TikTok beyond a shadow of a doubt”.
A representative for TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the House ban.