Texas has become the most recent state to ban TikTok on state government devices due to security concerns.
- The Lone Star State banned the video-sharing, social-media app on government devices on Wednesday.
- This ban extends to state government employees and hired contractors.
- Texas marks the fifth state to ban the app with South Dakota, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Maryland having previously done so.
- Wisconsin representatives are also looking to ban the app.
- Concerns around TikTok are driven by reports that parent company ByteDance’s close connection with the Chinese government.
Why it’s news
In recent months, several government officials including the FBI have warned about the potential security threats coming from TikTok. The app collects user data that ByteDance employees may have access to.
Upon banning the app, Texas Governor Greg Abbott says, “[U]nder China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all businesses are required to assist China in intelligence work including data sharing, and TikTok’s algorithm has already censored topics politically sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party.”
Governors of Marlynad, South Carolina, and South Dakota all made similar statements explaining why their states chose to ban the app on government devices.
More recent reports found that TikTok not only collects user data, but also promotes propaganda on channels not explicitly marked as being run by Chinese media outlets. Other reports have found that employees at ByteDance have close connections to Chinese state media.
Backing up a bit
While several states have now banned the app, federal employees could soon be banned from having TikTok on their devices as well.
House Republicans are now looking to ban federal employees from using TikTok after several officials have encouraged the government to ban the app altogether.
Representative Jim Jordan is leading the charge as several House Republicans draft legislation that could potentially ban federal employees from using the video-sharing social-media app.
The move comes after multiple reports about privacy concerns on the app and several U.S. officials have called for the app to be banned.
Reports from the Daily Caller indicate that the House may take up the bill as early as next year when Republicans hold the majority in the House.