Airlines Roll Out Social Media Ban For Employees

Following a year of government bans on TikTok, contractors utilized by the government, including major airlines, are also being affected.

New Regulations

Recently, Delta Airlines employees received a company memo over the July 1-2 weekend, stating that they are prohibited from having TikTok or any other application developed by China's ByteDance on airline-issued devices and personal gadgets used to access the airline's internal systems. This move highlights the industry's heightened concern regarding potential security risks associated with certain apps and technologies.

This move by Delta follows a similar directive given to Southwest Airlines employees. In June, the White House expanded the “No TikTok on Government Devices” Act, originally passed in February 2023, to include contractors serving the U.S. government or having access to its data. Since major commercial airlines also provide services to military and government agencies, they were immediately subject to the updated guidelines.

“As a federal contractor we are required to adhere to this guidance and accordingly, TikTok will be inaccessible via the Southwest network beginning June 28, 2023,” stated Southwest Airlines' memo. The airline also expressed its commitment to evaluating policies and procedures to ensure compliance and cybersecurity.

A Federal Regulation

The Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have implemented an interim rule called the No TikTok on Government Devices Act. This rule applies to all contract solicitations issued by these agencies on or after June 2. The rule, titled ‘Federal Acquisition Regulation: Prohibition on a ByteDance Covered Application,' revises the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to enforce the prohibition on using TikTok or any successor application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Limited or its subsidiaries.

“The rule revises the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement the prohibition on having or using the social networking service TikTok or any successor application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Limited or an entity owned by ByteDance Limited (“covered application”).”

For contract solicitations issued prior to June 2 but awarded after that date, they must be amended to comply with the interim rule by July 3, 2023. This ensures that government contracts align with the prohibition on using TikTok or related applications as stated in the rule published in the Federal Register.

Breaching Personal Rights?

Delta Airlines' recent ban on TikTok extends beyond company emails and in-flight ethernet, effectively prohibiting employees from having the app on their personal phones as well. According to a memo obtained by The Points Guy, workers have until Friday, July 7 to remove TikTok from their devices.

Unlike Delta, Southwest's ban on TikTok applies only to airline-issued devices and does not extend to personal devices used for accessing the airline's internal programs.

Delta's decision has broader implications, likely influenced by the deteriorating relations between the United States and China. The ban arose from concerns about ByteDance's ties to the Chinese government and potential data security risks associated with the platform. This may prompt other airlines to follow suit with similar bans in the near future.

No More TikTok On Board

While TikTok has gained immense popularity in recent years, with some flight attendants and pilots sharing on-the-job moments and experiences on the platform, the government's crackdown on TikTok regulations takes precedence over any positive publicity it may generate. While passengers are currently unaffected, there is speculation among analysts that a future ban could even render TikTok inaccessible via in-flight WiFi.

“By implementing this policy, Delta is aligning itself with the government's requirements and prioritizing data security,” remarked Chris Pohl, a Virgin Atlantic pilot who gained a substantial following by providing industry insights on TikTok. “Many companies and organizations have taken similar steps to limit or ban the use of TikTok on work-related devices,” he added, emphasizing the growing trend in response to security concerns.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Max My Money.


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