US Government Bans TikTok in several states due to security concerns. TikTok is being targeted by governors and U.S. lawmakers who say the Chinese-owned company is a cybersecurity risk.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill that would ban the wildly popular social media app from devices issued by federal agencies.
Several US Governors have ordered their agencies not to use the app on state-issued devices. This week, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, and Utah joined four other states — Maryland, South Dakota, South Carolina, and Nebraska — in issuing such bans.
This raises fears that China may utilize TikTok for monitoring and data collecting.
In response, many American states have decided to ban the app in order to protect the security and privacy of their citizens.
But its widespread usage across the U.S. is alarming government officials. In November, FBI Director Christopher Wray raised eyebrows after he told lawmakers that the app could be used to control users’ devices.
Citing national security concerns, governors from a handful of states are prohibiting state employees from using the app on government-issued devices.
Officials and advocates of this kind of legislation are fearful of how a foreign-owned social media entity could influence American politics.
“[TikTok] has the capability to collect massive amounts of data on our citizens,” Marc Berkman, CEO of the Organization for Social Media Safety, told NPR. “Because it’s owned by China, there is certainly the potential — and it’s unclear whether this is happening currently — but there’s certainly the ongoing potential that that data is shared by the Chinese government.”
Berkman said that foreign-owned technology also runs the risk of “impacting our elections via propaganda and misinformation.”
Remember that TikTok has said that it stores U.S. user data within the U.S. and does not comply with Chinese government content moderation requirements. But in July it acknowledged that non-U.S. employees did in fact have access to U.S. user data.