Several states are banning the use of TikTok on government equipment in view of the potential threats to national security 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.
US officials worry that the Chinese government could force TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, to share data collected on millions of its users.
“TikTok collects vast amounts of data from its users’ devices … and provides this wealth 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 was concerned about how the data collected by the company was being used. FBI Director Christopher Wray said earlier this month that the company’s data collection “can be used for conventional espionage tasks.”
The Trump administration threatened to ban the app, citing potential security and privacy threats unless it was sold to an American company. President BidenBut 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 equipment.
TikTok has denied 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 the same data as other apps.
“Maybe they should consider banning all social media apps from government phones,” Beckerman said.
In a statement, TikTok said: “The concerns driving these bans are largely fueled by misinformation about our company.,