Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines have both implemented bans on the video-sharing app TikTok for their employees, according to Simply Flying, an online aviation news platform.
Delta Air Lines recently announced that it was prohibiting the use of TikTok on phones connected to its work network.
This decision aligns with a recent US Government ban that restricts the presence and use of TikTok on information technology networks, including equipment used by Federal contractors.
Delta Air Lines is extending the ban to include any personal device used to access its internal network systems. This means that using TikTok on employees’ personal devices for work-related purposes, such as accessing apps, email, the intranet, or flight booking systems, will no longer be allowed.
Delta Air Lines itself has an official TikTok account with a significant number of followers, but the ban applies specifically to employee devices.
Southwest Airlines had previously implemented a similar ban on TikTok for the same reasons. As a federal contractor that works with various government agencies and carries federal employees on official travel, Southwest Airlines is required to adhere to the government’s guidance. TikTok has been inaccessible on the Southwest network since June 28, 2023. However, the Southwest Social Business and Insights Team will continue to use TikTok outside the airline’s network to communicate with customers.
According to the airline: “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.
“As the technology and regulatory landscape evolves, we will continue to evaluate our policies and procedures to uphold Southwest’s ongoing commitment to compliance and cybersecurity, safeguarding both our people and data.”
These bans by Delta and Southwest Airlines were prompted by an interim rule issued by the US Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This rule prohibits the use of TikTok and other ByteDance applications on devices used for official business by government contractors.
The US Government’s guidance on TikTok usage stemmed from the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” issued by the White House in February 2023. This act instructed agencies to remove TikTok from federal devices and restrict its use on devices used by certain state governments. Notably, personal phones not used for work-related tasks are exempt from this prohibition.
The bans primarily affect devices used for official business by government contractors and may not directly impact personal devices that are not used in the performance of a contract.
“This prohibition applies to devices regardless of whether the device is owned by the Government, the contractor, or the contractor’s employees (e.g., employee-owned devices that are used as part of an employer bring your own device (BYOD) programme).
“A personally-owned cell phone that is not used in the performance of the contract is not subject to the prohibition,” US Government’s guidance on TikTok stated.