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Biden campaign orders staff members to delete TikTok from phones

TikTok’s position has rapidly slipped in the United States and today, it has lost trust from another political group. The Biden campaign has asked its staff members to delete the short-form video app from both their personal and work phones citing privacy and security concerns, according to Bloomberg.

The Democratic nominee’s general counsel, Dana Remus is said to have sent out a memo detailing a range of updates for the campaign’s employee handbook — including a ban on “downloading and using TikTok on work and personal devices.”

In addition, the memo adds a new rule that restricts Biden staff members from trading stocks “without advance written approval of the General Counsel” to ensure they’re not inadvertently misusing their access to nonpublic information.

“As we gear up to officially become the Democratic nominee, we took a moment to ensure that the policies of our campaign represent the highest ethical standards,” Bill Russo, a spokesperson for the campaign, told Bloomberg.

The Biden campaign’s order follows actions taken by the Democratic and Republican national committees that had warned their staffers against TikTok use. Several other government organizations have banned TikTok over the past few weeks including the U.S. departments of State and Homeland Security, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Navy.

Earlier this month, Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows also said the White House is reviewing the national security risks posed by Chinese apps such as TikTok and could take action on them within “weeks, not months.” The comment came about a week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in an interview that the United States is “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps such as TikTok.

“We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked,” a TikTok spokesperson commented at the time.

In an attempt to allay these concerns, TikTok has actively tried to convince the rest of the world that it is not influenced by the Chinese government. A week ago, TikTok, which is owned by a Chinese startup called Bytedance, said it plans to hire 10,000 staff in the U.S. over the next three years. The video-sharing service has also ramped up its team of lobbyists and is in the middle of relocating its headquarters outside of China.

We’ve reached out to the Biden campaign and TikTok for more information and we’ll update the story when we hear back.

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Shubham Agarwal
Shubham Agarwal is a freelance technology journalist from Ahmedabad, India. His work has previously appeared in Firstpost…
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