The Transportation Security Administration said Sunday it has banned its employees from using the China-owned video app TikTok to create social media posts for the agency after lawmakers raised concerns about potential national security issues, ABC News reports.
The announcement comes after New York Sen. Chuck Schumer sent a letter Saturday to TSA Administrator David Pekoske, citing his concerns that the (TSA) is still using the app on social media. Schumer goes on to say the TSA, charged with ensuring the security of our airports and the flying public, should not be exempt from the ban, especially given its parent agency, DHS, has already banned it.
The senator raised concern over the app months ago. In November, Schumer along with Sen. Tom Cotton, R. called for U.S. intelligence officials to investigate the app for any threats to national security.
“The TSA is to be recognized for its work to engage a variety of stakeholders with airline rules and safety, but it also must acknowledge the ironic risk it’s placing its own agency — and potentially the public — in with its continued use of the China-owned TikTok app,” Schumer said in a statement Sunday.
“Given the widely reported threats, the already-in-place agency bans, and the existing national security concerns posed by TikTok, the feds cannot continue to allow the TSA’s use of the platform to fly,” he added.
Schumer accused the TSA of posting TikTok videos on agency accounts even as TikTok was being federally probed, pointing to a viral “nopes” and “yeps” of carry-on luggage and a “romantic tips” for travelers videos.
“These videos sure do make you chuckle; they’re creative,” Schumer said. “But China might be laughing at these TSA postings for very different reasons, and that should concern us and it’s why I am urging the TSA to find a different platform, and cease its use of TikTok now.”
The agency said it never directed viewers to TikTok or published content directly to the platform, despite videos reposted on other TSA social media accounts having the TikTok logo in the bottom of the screen. The agency said it had an “active and award-winning presence on several social media platforms.”
“A small number of TSA employees have previously used Tik Tok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA’s social media outreach, but that practice has been discontinued,” the spokesperson added.