Texas Becomes Fifth State to Ban or Partially Block CCP-Tied TikTok

December 9th, 2022 5:37 PM

Texas has joined four other states in banning or partially blocking the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-tied TikTok for state agencies.

South Dakota, South Carolina, Nebraska and Maryland had already moved to ban TikTok for state agencies, The Washington Post reported. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott went a step further and told the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas Department of Information Resources to develop a plan for state agencies to deploy regarding “the use of TikTok on personal devices” by Jan. 15.

Abbott, a Republican, tweeted Dec. 7, “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.”

Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts was the first to block TikTok from state electronic devices in August 2020, according to The Associated Press. South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster requested his state’s Department of Administration to block TikTok from their devices this week. Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan banned TikTok and other “China and Russia-based platforms” for state executive government devices, according to AP. South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem banned TikTok for state employees and agencies last week.

“There may be no greater threat to our personal safety and our national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives,” AP quoted Hogan.

Texas’s Abbott agrees. In his letter to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, Abbott explained further, “under China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all businesses are required to assist China in intelligence work, including data sharing, and TikTok’s algorithm has already censored topics politically sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party, including the Tiananmen Square protests.”

Abbott noted that federal agencies including the State and Defense departments already ban TikTok on their devices for personnel. He said that FBI director Christopher Wray noted recently that the CCP can control TikTok’s content algorithm.

TikTok can harvest “vast amounts of data from its users’ devices—including when, where, and how they conduct internet activity,” Abbott wrote. He insisted that Texas must target TikTok because the “threat of the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate the United States continues to grow.”

Recent revelations exposed how Chinese employees at TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, could access U.S. TikTok user data. The CCP owns both a financial stake and a board seat in ByteDance. Recent evidence showed that CCP-tied TikTok accounts mostly slammed Republicans and promoted Democrats before the 2022 election.


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