Growing number of states banning TikTok on government devices
A growing number of states are banning the use of TikTok on government devices over possible national security threats posed by the Chinese-owned social media platform.
On Wednesday, Texas became the latest state to ban the popular app, following Maryland, South Dakota, South Carolina and Nebraska.
U.S. officials are concerned the Chinese government could force TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, to share the data it collects on its millions of users.
“TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices … and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a letter announcing the ban.
For years, the U.S. intelligence community has had concerns about how data collected by the company is being used. FBI Director Christopher Wray said earlier this month that the company’s data collection “can be used for traditional espionage operations.”
The Trump administration threatened to ban the app unless it was sold to an American company, citing potential security and privacy threats. President Biden reversed Trump’s efforts to ban the app, but ordered a government review of foreign-owned apps, and whether they pose any security risks.
The U.S. military previously banned its members from using TikTok on government devices.
TikTok denies it shares data with the Chinese government.
Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy for North America, told CBS News on Wednesday the company collects data similar to other apps.
“Maybe they should consider banning all social media apps from government phones,” Beckerman said.
In a statement, TikTok added: “The concerns driving these bans are largely fueled by misinformation about our company.”