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On June 2, 2023, the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council published an Interim Rule from the DoD, GSA, and NASA, that prohibits the presence or use of any applications (apps, including TikTok,) owned by Chinese company ByteDance Limited (ByteDance) on devices used in the performance of federal contracts.

For contracts that involve use of IT by the contractor, modifications that extend the period of performance, or any other aspect of the contract, are expected to also include the addition of FAR clause 52.204-27, applying the TikTok ban. Faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student workers are highly encouraged to immediately delete the TikTok app from any device, whether owned by the university or not, that is used in the performance of work under the subject federal contract or subcontract to the subject federal contract. The Interim Rule is specific to federal contracts as the funding mechanism; therefore, grants are not subject to the prohibition at this time. Compliance acknowledgement forms will be circulated to each Principal Investigator once his/her/their contract has been modified to include the Interim Rule.

Devices include cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktops, and other internet-connected devices.

Devices that are used in the performance of work under a federal contract are devices that are used to create, view, download, or edit any data, documents, or information related to federal contract work.

What apps are owned by ByteDance?

ByteDance develops many applications. One of the most widely known in the United States is TikTok. As of June 2023 they offered:

  • TikTok
  • Douyin
  • Toutiao
  • Xigua Video
  • Helo
  • Lark
  • BytePlus
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Does this mean that ByteDance apps, like TikTok, are banned from university networks?

No. The Interim Rule prohibits use of ByteDance apps on devices that are used for the performance of a federal contract. The Principal Investigators (PI) on federal contract projects have been notified that their project qualifies. If you are unsure if your project bans ByteDance apps please contact your PI.

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Is it safe to use TikTok on a personally owned device?

Concerns have been raised about safety and security of TikTok and the US Federal Government issued this rule because they see it as a risk to sensitive information. You are prohibited from using TikTok or ByteDance apps on device used in the performance of a federal contract. For example, if your project is subject to the Rule banning ByteDance apps, you cannot have ByteDance apps installed or even visit ByteDance websites if you use your phone for checking project emails. 

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What if I want to keep a ByteDance app on my personal device that is subject to the prohibition?

If you wish to maintain a ByteDance app on a personally owned device that is subject to the prohibition, then you must not use the personal device for work under a federal contract.

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What if I have a device subject to the prohibition that is not managed by an IT group?

It is your responsibility to have ByteDance owned app removed from a device subject to the prohibition.

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What is the different between a Federal Contract and Grant?

Grants provide funding to advance a public purpose and are the primary funding mechanism for Lehigh researchers.  Performance of a grant-funded project is the responsibility of the institution and typically includes reporting on progress and preparing results for publication.  Agencies that issue grants are involved in the administration of the grant, but are less involved in the project.  Federal Contracts are used as a procurement mechanism for research and development (R&D) and service projects.  Agencies that issue contracts have a higher level of involvement, including more frequent reporting and a commitment to achieve results as defined by the contract.  If you have any questions regarding the use of ByteDance apps on your Devices, please contact Information Security at you are unsure whether your research is funded by federal contract or if you have any other research-related questions, please contact ORSP at

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For additional help, please contact the LTS Help Desk at 610-758-4357 or