Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines have now banned their employees from using TikTok.
The Delta ban: Delta announced its ban in a memo circulated on June 30, according to The Points Guy, which first broke the news. Beginning July 7, Delta employees can no longer use TikTok on their personal devices if those devices are used to access any work-related system, including email, scheduling and the employee intranet.
A Delta representative told USA Today that the move corresponds with a new federal requirement that “prohibits government contractors from having or using TikTok or any ByteDance applications on devices used to perform work for the U.S. Government.” They added that staff are being asked to remove either TikTok or all Delta systems from their devices.
The Southwest ban: Southwest, another government contractor, announced its ban two days earlier. Unlike the latter, Southwest does not ban TikTok from personal devices but does make the platform inaccessible via its network.
Like Delta, Southwest also made the decision to comply with federal requirements. The airline will still engage with customers via TikTok, but employees must use their personal devices.
The bigger picture: TikTok has been under intense scrutiny by the U.S. government for years over national security concerns. Officials fear that TikTok — which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance — could be used by the Chinese government to harvest U.S. user data for “influence operations” and espionage.
In December, President Joe Biden signed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act,” while multiple states have enacted various versions of a ban, with Montana enforcing a sweeping ban. Last month, TikTok confirmed that it stores some U.S. user data in China.