Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced on Wednesday that state employees and agencies would no longer be able to use the social media application TikTok on government-issued devices due to rising concerns about the Chinese government accessing sensitive data via the application.
The decision from Abbott comes on the heels of South Dakota, Maryland and the U.S. military in banning the CCP-tied application.
“I’ve banned TikTok on state-issued devices. I’m also calling for legislation to make the ban permanent and to broaden the ban. As I detail in my letter and press release, the threat posed by the CCP through TikTok is serious and must be stopped,” Abbott tweeted on Wednesday.
I've banned TikTok on state issued devices.
I'm also calling for legislation to make the ban permanent and to broaden the ban.
As I detail in my letter and press release, the threat posed by the CCP through TikTok is serious and must be stopped.https://t.co/X4kkFfCDq3
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 7, 2022
The application is said to have nearly 1.3 billion users worldwide with roughly 85 million of those users being Americans.
His press release offers a further explanation of his decision.
“TikTok is a video-sharing mobile application with more than 85 million users in the United States. It belongs to a Chinese company called ByteDance Ltd., which employs Chinese Communist Party members and has a subsidiary that is partially owned by the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices—including when, where, and how they conduct internet activity—and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government,” his press release stated.
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned lawmakers on Capitol Hill in November that the use of TikTok poses a national security threat as the Chinese government could potentially use the data harvested from its 85 million users in a negative way, control algorithms which could influence operations, or to control software on user’s devices.
Wray also shared with lawmakers that China’s extensive hacking program is the world’s largest and “they have stolen more Americans’ personal and business data than every other nation combined.”
How dangerous is TikTok, really? The director of the FBI thinks there’s a legit reason for concern.
The push from the FBI to inform lawmakers about the potential dangers of the application comes over 2 years after former President Donald Trump started the dialogue of how dangerous it was and attempted to ban it in 2020.