Virginia Gov. Youngkin bans TikTok, WeChat on state devices
A bipartisan group of legislators have also introduced a plan to ban the app from operating in the United States outright.
Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Friday issued an executive order banning Chinese social media apps TikTok and Weibo amid mounting concerns that such apps present security threats.
"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 in a statement. "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."
Youngkin's move is the latest in an ongoing movement to restrict certain Chinese tech firms from accessing sensitive materials or operating as agents of the communist dictatorship in Beijing. The Senate this week unanimously passed a measure to ban TikTok from government devices.
Moreover, a bipartisan group of legislators have introduced a plan to ban the app from operating in the United States outright. TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, operates out of Beijing and maintains close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
Of particular concern is potential CCP access to American user data. The Biden administration has long worked to find a deal with the company to segregate U.S. user data from that of other users and to address other security risks, though industry experts have cautioned that such a plan would likely fail to resolve the matter entirely.
Former President Donald Trump attempted to ban TikTok in the U.S. but was unsuccessful.
TikTok, however, is not the only Chinese firm under intense scrutiny. Youngkin's order also addressed WeChat, another Chinese social media platform, and lawmakers have persistently warned of the threat that Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei poses to national security.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers this week also introduced a measure asking the Treasury to add the company to its "specially designated nationals" list which we bar American individuals and companies from dealing with Huawei almost entirely.