Viral Video, Posts Falsely Claim TikTok Has Been Banned in the US

The post falsely claims that TikTok has been banned in USA and now it is India’s turn to ban the app.

Published30 Apr 2020, 02:04 PM IST
WebQoof
4 min read

CLAIM

A post claiming that TikTok has been banned in the United States of America is viral on social media. The post says that the popular social media app has been banned in the US and now it is India’s turn to ban it.

An archived version can be seen <a href="http://archive.is/FfKYr">here</a>.
An archived version can be seen here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Facebook)

Several variations of the claim were seen on Facebook.

An archived version can be seen <a href="http://archive.vn/cLo8g">here</a>.
An archived version can be seen here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Facebook)

The claim was also viral on Facebook with a video, which shows a man speaking about the risks of TikTok related to the data it collects. The video titled, ‘TikTok Banned by United States of America', was shared with the caption #DeleteTikTokApp.

An archived version can be seen <a href="http://archive.is/tlgYP">here</a>.
An archived version can be seen here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Facebook)
An archived version of the search results can be seen <a href="http://archive.vn/DpC5d">here</a>.
An archived version of the search results can be seen here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Facebook)

We also found similar posts and the claim to be viral on Twitter.

An archived version can be seen <a href="http://archive.vn/qieOb">here</a>.
An archived version can be seen here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Twitter)
An archived version can be seen <a href="http://archive.vn/a5wvL">here</a>.
An archived version can be seen here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Twitter)

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TRUE OR FALSE?

The claim shared with these posts is misleading because TikTok has not been banned by the US as a whole but by some US agencies, such as the US Army, navy, air force and the coast guard, among others, and only for usage on government-issued devices, not personal ones.

WHAT WE FOUND

On searching for results about the US banning TikTok in the country, we found no such reports. However, we came across many reports about the app being banned for use on government-issued phones and other devices.

The latest such report we found was one by Reuters from 12 March 2020, which said that two Republican senators had introduced a bill seeking a ban on federal employees from using TikTok on their government-issued phones.

Reuters also reported that the the bill had been introduced by Senators Josh Hawley and Rick Scott over “national security concerns around the collection and sharing of data on US users with China’s government.”

We found many more such reports about various agencies banning TikTok on government-issued devices. A Reuters report from December 2019 said that the US Navy had banned TikTok from government-issued mobile devices, over concerns of a cybersecurity threat, while a Forbes report from January 2020 said the same about the US Army.

A Wall Street Journal report stated that the coast guard and the air force had banned it for their members as well.

The country’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has also stopped allowing employees from using the app to create social media posts for the agency, according to the Associated Press.

However, no reports were found about TikTok being banned countrywide, which indicates that the claim is fake.

What About the Video?

If one listens to the whole video, it is evident that after detailing the risks of using TikTok, the man goes on to say that he is introducing a legislation to ban the usage of TikTok by all federal employees on all federal government devices.

He does not say anywhere that TikTok needs to be banned absolutely or countrywide or for personal uses.

On performing a YouTube search with keywords ‘TikTok banned US’, we came across the full video, making it clear that the man in the video is Senator Josh Hawley, who has been mentioned above as one of the senators who introduced the Bill seeking a ban on federal employees from using TikTok on their government-issued phones.

The video has been uploaded from his channel and captioned “Sen Hawley announces new legislation to ban TikTok from all federal employees, on all gov devices”.

Viral  Video, Posts Falsely Claim TikTok Has Been Banned in the US
(Photo: Screenshot/YouTube)

Therefore, it is clear that the viral posts are making false claims about TikTok being banned in the US, when it is actually banned on government devices by some US agencies.

The Quint has reached out to TikTok for a response on this claim. This story will be updated as and when they respond.

You can read all our fact-checked stories here.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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