The TSA announced on Sunday that employees are no longer allowed to use the China-owned video sharing app on behalf of the security screening agency after the Senate's top Democrat raised concerns about potential national security issues.
In a statement, the TSA revealed that a “small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA’s social media outreach, but that practice has since been discontinued,” according to the Associated Press.
Though the agency claims they never posted content directly to TikTok or otherwise directed viewers to the increasingly popular platform, videos have previously been posted on TSA social media accounts (on platforms like Twitter) with the TikTok logo in the corner.
Before Thanksgiving, an official TSA Twitter account shared a TikTok featuring a spokeswoman explaining the “nopes” and “yeps” of carry-on luggage in a clip that went viral. Earlier this month, the same employee shared a playful video clarifying the rules for traveling with the hazelnut spread Nutella, as well as another clip offering tips for Valentine’s Day travel.
The TSA’s new decision concerning TikTok videos was announced after Schumer, D-N.Y., sent a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske on Saturday, the Associated Press reports. The senator’s crusade for the ban began months ago: In November, Schumer and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. called for U.S. intelligence officials to investigate it for any threats to national security.
Schumer argued that the continued use of TikTok from the TSA could expose the American public and federal agency to “very real” risks from China, according to a statement released on Sunday. Schumer cited a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule prohibiting TikTok on agency devices in making his case.
“Given the widely reported threats, the already-in-place agency bans, and the existing concerns posed by TikTok, the feds cannot continue to allow the TSA’s use of the platform to fly,” Schumer said.
“These videos sure do make you chuckle; they’re creative,” he continued. “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 DHS, Department of Defense and the State Department have all banned the use of TikTok on government devices since Schumer first sounded the alarm in the fall.
A spokesperson for the TSA was not immediately available to offer further comment on the news.
Fox News’ Christopher Carbone and the Associated Press contributed to this report.