U.S. Army, in the midst of rising concerns over handling of users’ data by social media app TikTok, instructed its cadets to avoid the use of Chinese-origin app while representing the military, as said an Army spokeswoman on last Friday.
The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer earlier urged the Army to review risk resides in its use of the popular video app for recruitment of American teenagers and the current directive by the military came following it.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on last Thursday said that the Army was carrying out a security assessment of the app, owned by the Chinese tech giant Beijing ByteDance Technology Co Ltd.
The order was issued by the U.S. Army Cadet Command which is responsible for the military training of university and high school students through its Reserve Officers Training Corp, ROTC, and Junior ROTC programs. An Army spokeswoman said that the directive from cadet command was issued in order to “err on the side of caution”.
The guidance would restrict the cadets from posting TikToks while performing official duties or in uniform or for recruitment, other than that the cadets would still be allowed to use the app for personal use of their own. Task & Purpose, an online publication with a primary focus on the United States Armed Forces and defense matters, was the first to report the new directive.
In its search of the hashtags “#rotc” and “#jrotc”, Reuters found several videos on TikTok of young men and women lip-syncing, dancing or performing training exercises while they were wearing U.S. military uniforms.
The Army has not given any other TikTok-specific guidance, but it has an official social media guidance which is covers the use of all types of current and emerging social media platforms, an Army spokeswoman said.