At least 18 states have put restrictions or banned TikTok over national security concerns
South Dakota Gov. Noem kicked off a trend that has spread nationwide.
Following South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem's lead, nearly half of U.S. states have put restrictions on or banned the use of Chinese-based social media app TikTok.
At least 19 states have banned TikTok on government-issued devices – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utha, Virginia and West Virginia.
Other states are considering suing the social media app for its data policies. Indiana was the first to do so this month, alleging TikTok exposes minors to inappropriate content and makes user data accessible to China.
The governors and attorneys general are taking action because of ties between the social media app’s parent company, ByteDance and the Chinese Communist Party and warnings from U.S. intelligence that it poses threats to national security and individual privacy.
TikTok released a statement earlier in December according to Reuters which stated that it was "disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States."
However, TikTok has acknowledged that its non-U.S. employees had access to data of U.S. users and has told lawmakers that it's working to protect that data.
Noem was the first governor to take action against TikTok and ban it from all government devices.
"I take my duty very seriously to protect the citizens of this great state,". Noem told the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show. "The more and more we learn about how the Chinese government and the CCP is using the information they're gathering off of TikTok to threaten the United States of America, to learn more about our habits, what we search, and how they are manipulating the algorithms- the more serious we have to take it."
Congress is considering a similar ban of federal, government-issued devices but has yet to impose one.
Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced earlier this month that he would be joining the other states in taking action against TikTok, as well as another China-based app WeChat.
"TikTok and WeChat data are a channel to the Chinese Communist Party, and their continued presence represents a threat to national security, the intelligence community, and the personal privacy of every single American," Youngkin said. "We are taking this step today to secure state government devices and wireless networks from the threat of infiltration and ensure that we safeguard the data and cybersecurity of state government."
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita referred to TikTok as a "business that deceives customers."
"One of the things you can't do is operate a business that deceives consumers," Rokita told the "Just the News, No Noise." "That's exactly what TikTok and their parent company ByteDance are doing by being controlled by the CCP."