Republican officials declare war on TikTok

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday imposed a ban on using TikTok for all government-issued devices, becoming the youngest Republican governor concerned the Chinese-owned app could pose a national security threat.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, Abbott wrote letters to several state officials regarding the “government’s responsibility to keep Texans safe and secure” and said the video-sharing app could allow the Chinese Communist Party to share “critical U.S. information.” to collect .”

“TikTok collects vast amounts of data from its users’ devices — including when, where and how they conduct internet activity — and offers this treasure trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government,” Abbott wrote in one of the letters.

TikTok at Paris Games Week 2022
The TikTok logo will be displayed during Paris Games Week 2022 on November 3rd. Some Republican officials have imposed TikTok bans on state-owned devices over concerns the app could pose a national security threat.
Chesnot/Getty Images

Officials have long speculated that the social media app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, could share its users’ data with the Chinese government, potentially exposing US intelligence agencies. Abbott’s announcement came a day after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a similar ban that also banned the use of Russian products on state-owned devices.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed two separate lawsuits against TikTok on Wednesday, accusing ByteDance of making “false claims” about its app. According to a press release, Rokita argues in one of the lawsuits that TikTok “lured children to the platform” by misleading users that the app “rarely” contained obscene content, such as profanity or sexual content. In the second lawsuit, Rokita alleges that the social app company “tricked” its users into believing their information was safe from the Chinese government.

Although the app is not owned by the Chinese Communist Party, Abbott said in his letter that user data stored in the app could still be made available to the Chinese government under a 2017 national intelligence law that requires all companies to notify the government of “intelligence agencies.” “ to support work.”

TikTok has grown exponentially since its global launch in 2018, with nearly 136.5 million American users as of April 2022. Several US officials have since raised concerns about the app’s potential security risks, including former President Donald Trump, who opposed a ban debated in 2020.

Last month, Brendan Carr, commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), recommended the government ban TikTok in the US, claiming there is no “world where one could come up with adequate protection for user data.” from falling “back into the hands” of the Chinese Communist Party.

However, several obstacles would prevent such a ban since the FCC does not have jurisdiction in this matter. Nor can companies like Apple and Google be forced to ban the app in their app stores under the First Amendment, and even a move by the Pentagon would not have international jurisdiction over the site.

news week asked TikTok for a comment. Republican officials declare war on TikTok

Rick Schindler

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