Has Texas blocked residents from using the TikTok social networking platform? No, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott is planning to prevent the use of the video hosting service on state-issued devices.
Earlier this week, Abbott announced his plan to issue network-based restrictions on TikTok in the state. The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Information Resources developed the model.
“The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored,” said Governor Abbott. “Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity.
He continued, “Other prohibited technologies listed in the statewide model plan also produce a similar threat to the security of Texans. It is critical that state agencies and employees are protected from the vulnerabilities presented by the use of this app and other prohibited technologies as they work on behalf of their fellow Texans.”
Other States & Federal Agencies Issued Similar Bans
Texas joins South Dakota, South Carolina, and Maryland in banning the use of TikTok on state-issued devices. Several federal agencies also banned the app on government devices. In addition, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation to ban TikTok use on federal government devices.
“I thank the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Department of Information Resources for their hard work helping safeguard the state’s sensitive information and critical infrastructure from potential threats posed by hostile foreign actors,” concluded Abbott in a press release.
TikTok Claims The Bans Will Hinder The Ability To Build Online Communities
Over the last several years, TikTok has become a vital platform for many recording artists. Acts such as Lizzo, Bad Bunny, Doja Cat, and Armani White benefited from users sharing their respective music releases. There are also reports that TikTok employees can secretly boost certain content to go viral.
“We’re sorry to see the unintended consequences of these rushed TikTok bans – policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity – beginning to impact universities’ ability to share information, recruit students, and build communities around athletic teams, student groups, campus publications, and more,” a TikTok spokesperson told The Hill.
TikTok has an estimated 1 billion monthly active users. That total places the company among the Top 10 most popular social media apps in the world. Facebook (2.9 million MAUs), YouTube (2.2 billion MAUs), WhatsApp (2 billion MUAs), and Instagram (2 billion MAUs) lead the pack.