Texas: Abbott bans use of TikTok on state-provided devices

"TikTok collects vast amounts of data from its users' devices (...) And it offers this treasure trove of confidential information to the Chinese government," the governor said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott banned TikTok from being downloaded and used on state-provided cell phones and computers. The governor announced that the app is banned from all government-owned devices for "collecting vast amounts of data" from users.

In a statement, Abbott acknowledged that the social network says its data is stored in the U.S., but expressed distrust that the Chinese government could use the information to surveil U.S. citizens:

The ban only applies to state devices

The ban only applies to state-owned devices and, therefore, employees will not be able to download it. It affects cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers and other devices that can connect to the internet.

The governor also directed the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Information Resources to develop a plan to address the use of TikTok on government employees' personal devices with a deadline of February 15, 2023. Likewise, he said that they will review the state legislation in order to make some changes in cybersecurity matters.

Abbott left some wiggle room in the ban by allowing state agency leaders to use it for police investigations and "other legitimate uses."

Abbott joins other Republican governors

Abbott is the latest Republican governor to single out social networks due to fear that the Chinese government will use the app to divert U.S. user information. The governors from South Dakota, South Carolina and Maryland also banned the app on employee’s government issued devices. Wisconsin Republicans called on their Democratic governor to do the same.