Starting today, Federal contractors are prohibited from having or using the popular social media app TikTok on government managed devices, according to an interim rule posted in the Federal Register by the Defense Department, General Services Administration, and NASA.
Effective June 2, contracting officers are required to include the new rule in all solicitations. Contracting officers have until July 3 to issue an amendment to solicitations that were awarded prior to today.
“This prohibition applies to the presence or use of any covered application on any information technology owned or managed by the Government, or on any information technology used or provided by the contractor under a contract, including equipment provided by the contractor’s employees,” the interim rule states.
This new rule comes as no surprise. In late February, the White House issued guidance that instructed Federal agencies to delete TikTok or any other app developed by its parent company, ByteDance – a China-based tech giant – within 30 days of the notice.
Within 90 days, agencies had to ensure that any new contracts did not contain requirements that may include the use of TikTok and cancel any contracts that require the use of the app.
The guidance comes after Congress voted in December to ban Federal employees from using the app on government-owned devices as part of a sweeping government funding package – the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. It gave OMB 60 days to issue guidance on the removal of the Chinese-owned video app, citing security risks.
Concerns over using TikTok on government devices have been bipartisan, although most Federal legislation looking to ban the social media platform has come from Republican legislators.
Several states have already banned TikTok from government devices, also citing security concerns. Last month, Montana became the first state to ban the popular social media app for residents. The law will go into effect in January.