Lawmakers and staffers must delete TikTok from any House-issued mobile phones and are prohibited from downloading the popular app on those devices, according to an internal memo obtained by NBC News.
The memo, sent Tuesday by Catherine L. Szpindor, the chief administrative officer of the House, said the ban comes after the Office of Cybersecurity found TikTok to be a “high risk to users due to a number of security risks.”
All lawmakers and staffers were directed to delete the app from their phones.
“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.”
A representative for TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move comes after a measure banning TikTok on some government devices was included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week. The provision included a ban of the app and any application provided by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, based in Beijing, on all Executive Branch devices, but didn’t apply to members of Congress and their staff.
The directive from the House does not apply to the Senate, where some lawmakers, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have called for the app to be completely banned in the United States.
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned members of Congress after the midterm election that the Chinese government could use TikTok to control users’ devices, for influence or espionage purposes.
The company said last week it was working to “meaningfully address any security concerns that have been raised at both the federal and state level. These plans have been developed under the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies — plans that we are well underway in implementing — to further secure our platform in the United States, and we will continue to brief lawmakers on them.”