A growing number of states are banning the use of TikTok on government devices over potential national security threats posed by the Chinese-owned social media platform.
On Wednesday, Texas became the latest state to ban the popular app, after Maryland, South Dakota, South Carolina and Nebraska.
US officials are concerned that the Chinese government could force TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, to share the data it collects on its millions of users.
“TikTok collects 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 US intelligence community has been concerned about how data collected by the company is used. FBI Director Christopher Wray said earlier this month that the company’s data collection “can be used for traditional spy operations.”
The Trump administration threatened to ban the app unless it was sold to a US company, citing potential security and privacy threats. President Biden reversed Trump’s efforts to ban the appbut ordered a government review of foreign-owned apps and whether they pose any security risks.
The US military previously banned its members from using TikTok on government devices.
TikTok denies that it shares data with the Chinese government.
Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy for North America, told CBS News on Wednesday that the company collects similar data 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 stem largely from misinformation about our company.”