Southwest Airlines is a government contractor. That imposes myriad rules. One of those rules now involves use of TikTok. As a result, starting today, Southwest Airlines prohibits use of TikTok on its network. However the airline will still continue to engage customers over TikTok – they’ll just require employees to use personal devices to do it.
As the airline explains to its employees,
[T]he Department of Defense, General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued an interim rule prohibiting the use of the social sharing platform TikTok and other ByteDance applications on devices used for official business by government contractors. This follows guidance issued by the White House in February 2023 directing agencies to remove TikTok from Federal devices, as well as the restriction of the application on devices used by several state governments.
Southwest maintains contracts with various government agencies, making the U.S. Government our largest single Customer. 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. The Southwest Social Business and Insights Team will continue to share stories and communicate with Customers via TikTok, outside of the Southwest network.
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.
This actually makes sense. There’s an air gap, of course, between Southwest’s network and TikTok. TikTok may still generate data on Southwest engagement, and from Southwest employees working in social, but their app won’t be installed inside the Southwest network, or on devices regularly connecting to that network.
Still, there are those pushing the TikTok ban who want TikTok banned, rather than to address a security threat as such. This does not accomplish that. Which one is the spirit of the rule, I wonder?