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US Military Cite Concerns Over Use of TikTok By Troops

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Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, says there are concerns over service members’ use of Chinese-owned apps like TikTok. He also stated that the military’s leadership should shoulder the blame, rather than the individual troops.


US Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger. Photo: US Marine Corps/Cpl. Patrick Mahoney.


Foreign-owned apps like TikTok have been reasons for concern from lawmakers and the military in recent months. The viral video-sharing app from China was also under investigation by intelligence agencies and the military.


A letter by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in November partly said:


“operational security risks posed and other China-owned social media platforms that can access massive amounts of US users’ personal data,”


He had added:


“National security experts have raised concerns about TikTok’s collection and handling of user data, including user content and communications, IP addresses, location-related data, metadata, and other sensitive personal information,”.

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No Personal Ban For US Military Corps

US Army cadets throughout high school and university were banned from using TikTok while in uniform to represent the military. A spokeswoman said in November that this is to “err on the side of caution”. The act does not, however, ban them from using it in personal capacities.


The app, formerly, increased in popularity and boasted 1 billion monthly active users earlier this year. ByteDance Technology, TikTok’s parent company, claims that it doesn’t send American users’ data to China after allegations of otherwise.


The company said in a statement in October:


“Let us be very clear: TikTok does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China,”.


Additionally, it said:


“We have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked. Period.”


Gen. David Berger, however, explained further the validity of the concerns:


“Once they begin to understand the risks, what the impact on them is tactically… then it becomes clear. I don’t blame them for that. This is a training and education that we have to do … That’s not their fault. That’s on us”.


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