According to an internal memo obtained by NBC News, lawmakers and staffers must delete TikTok from any House-issued mobile phones and are prohibited from downloading the popular app on such devices.
The memo, sent Tuesday by House Chief Administrative Officer Catherine L. Szpindor, stated that the ban comes after her office’s cybersecurity unit determined TikTok to be a “high risk to users due to a number of security risks.”
The app was removed from the phones of all lawmakers and staffers.
“House staff are NOT permitted to download the TikTok app on any House mobile device,” according to the memo. “You will be contacted to remove the TikTok app from your House mobile device.”
A TikTok representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week included a provision prohibiting the use of TikTok on certain government devices. The provision prohibited the use of the app, as well as any app provided by TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, based in Beijing, on all executive Branch devices; it did not apply to members of Congress or their staffs.
The House directive does not apply to the Senate, where some members, including Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have called for the app to be banned entirely in the United States.
Following the midterm elections, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned members of Congress that the Chinese government could use TikTok to control users’ devices for influence or espionage purposes.
Last week, the company stated that it was working to “Address any security concerns raised at the federal and state levels in a meaningful way. These plans, developed with the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies, are already in the works to further secure our platform in the United States, and we will continue to brief lawmakers on them.”