From Trendy to Taboo: What to Know About the TikTok App Ban on Federal Contractor Devices

By Kirsten Ellis posted 09-28-2023 04:13 PM


TikTok has been a trend for many years, and concerns around privacy and information transfer have been growing. The federal government has enacted a ban called the No TikTok on Government Devices Act to prioritize national security and protect government systems.

Federal contractors are prohibited from using a covered applicationon any government-owned or managed IT or other tech equipment used in connection with this contract, including any such equipment supplied by contractor personnel, in accordance withFederal Acquisition Regulation, FAR, 52.204-27. Covered applications refer explicitly to TikTok or any successor app created by ByteDance Limited. 

If you are a federal contractor or a subcontractor, this will apply to you on: 

  • Any contract solicitations federal agencies issued on or after June 2, 2023 

  • Federal contracts awarded before that date if performance began after June 2, 2023 

  • Modifications made to existing government contracts after June 2, 2023, to incorporate this new clause 

The ban applies to devices, even personal ones, that are used in the execution of a government contract. However, a personal cell phone not used for contract-related work is not subject to the ban. This can be a frustrating and sensitive topic for employees who use their own devices for dual purposes of work and personal use.  

Some important steps to take include the following: 

  • Review and update your social media and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. 

  • Work with your IT department to block and implement the necessary security measures on company devices that are covered by the Act. 

  • Discuss how to handle changes to employees’ personal devices also used for work. 

  • Communicate these changes with your employees. 

Effective communication of these changes is crucial, ensuring that employees are aware of the new guidelines. If you have teenagers or have worked with them, then you know one of the worst things that can happen is to have the Wi-Fi go down unexpectedly. Some of your employees may feel the same way if TikTok were to be unexpectedly blocked on a work device.  

Considering the potential impact on employee satisfaction, it is important for companies to address any concerns that may arise from the blocking of TikTok on work devices. The situation may be easier to manage if the organization provides its employees with devices rather than on a BYOD program. Offering company devices can help alleviate the perception that employers are dictating what employees can or cannot have on their personal devices. 

For a policy review or to discuss how to communicate these changes to your workforce, please email our Member Experience Team.