A growing number of states are banning the use of TikTok on government devices, citing potential national security threats posed by China-owned social media platforms.
On Wednesday, Texas became the latest state to ban popular apps, following Maryland, South Dakota, South Carolina and Nebraska.
US officials fear the Chinese government could force TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, to share data collected from its millions of users.
In a letter announcing the ban, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, “TikTok collects vast amounts of data from users’ devices and provides this potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government.
For years, US intelligence agencies have been concerned about how the 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.”
The Trump administration has threatened to ban the app unless it is sold to an American company, citing potential security and privacy threats.President Bidenbut has ordered the government to review foreign-owned apps and whether they pose a security risk.
The US military previously banned members from using TikTok on government devices.
TikTok denies sharing data with the Chinese government.
Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of North American public policy, told CBS News on Wednesday that the company collects data similar to other apps.
“We may need to consider banning all social media apps from government mobile phones,” said Beckermann.
In a statement, TikTok added:”