Virginia, the last US state to ban TikTok on official devices

By: MRT Desk

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Virginia, the last US state to ban TikTok on official devices

The U.S. state of Virginia today became the latest to join the ever-growing list of conservative-ruled territories that have banned the TikTok app on official devices.

An executive order issued Friday by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin prohibits state employees from downloading any apps owned by Chinese companies ByteDance or Tencent, such as TikTok and WeChat, on the devices they use for work.

Several US lawmakers, mostly Republicans but also Democrats, have long warned against the two companies’ ties to Chinese authorities, accusing them of sharing user data with the Beijing government.

“The data (they collect) TikTok and WeChat is a channel of communication with the Chinese Communist Party, and their presence is a threat to national security, the intelligence community and the personal privacy of every American,” the governor said in a statement.

TikTok has said on several occasions that it does not share user data with Chinese authorities.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted by consensus (without a vote) to ban TikTok on official federal government devices, though the measure must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by the U.S. president to take effect.

Several states, such as Texas, Alabama or Tennessee, have already done the same at the state level, while territories such as Indiana have filed lawsuits against ByteDance for allegedly allowing Chinese espionage.

In 2019, and as part of his strategy of increasing pressure on China, the then US president, Donald Trump, gave an ultimatum to TikTok to transfer its operations to US companies if it did not want to be banned in the country, something that, however, did not end up happening.

TikTok has more than 100 million users in the United States and has quickly become one of the most popular social networks in the world, especially among teenagers.

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