Tennessee Joins Wave of Statewide TikTok Bans Over Security Concerns

Tennessee Joins Wave of Statewide TikTok Bans Over Security Concerns
TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken on July 13, 2021. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)
Chase Smith
12/14/2022
Updated:
12/15/2022
0:00

Tennessee is taking steps to ban video-sharing app TikTok from government devices alongside a wave of states banning the app due to growing concerns over cybersecurity.

In a statement to WKRN, Gov. Bill Lee’s office said the state “has also taken additional steps to block the access of TikTok” on any personal or state-owned device that connects to the state network.

Lee’s office didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for additional comment.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) praised the governor’s work to ban access to the app on government networks in the state.

“TikTok allows Communist China to steal your personal data,” she wrote in a tweet.
Tennessee joins other Republican-led states, including Alabama, Utah, Texas, South Dakota, and Maryland, in taking steps to prohibit access to the app on government devices and networks. Nebraska banned TikTok from government devices in August 2020.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State address in the House Chamber of the Capitol building in Nashville, Tenn., on Jan. 31, 2022. (Mark Zaleski/AP Photo)
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State address in the House Chamber of the Capitol building in Nashville, Tenn., on Jan. 31, 2022. (Mark Zaleski/AP Photo)

Officials in other states with Democratic governors are trying to enact similar measures to ban the app.

Wisconsin’s Republican congressional delegation called on Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, to ban the app (pdf), while New York state senators introduced legislation on Dec. 9 to prohibit use of the app on state-issued electronic devices. The New York legislation, if passed and signed into law by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, would take effect immediately.

TikTok ‘Disappointed’ by State Bans

A TikTok spokesperson told The Epoch Times that they were “disappointed” in the move by Tennessee and other states around the country to ban the app.

“We’re disappointed that so many states are jumping on the bandwagon to enact policies based on unfounded, politically charged falsehoods about TikTok,” a spokesperson for TikTok said in an email. “It is unfortunate that the many state agencies, offices, and universities on TikTok in those states will no longer be able to use it to build communities and connect with constituents.”

The recent string of bans for the app comes after FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that it could be used for influence operations and surveillance on Americans by China. Wray said earlier this month that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has the ability to leverage the app to manipulate content and carry out “influence operations” and espionage operations within the United States.
Legislation to ban the app from operating in the United States was introduced in a bipartisan effort on Dec. 13. Congressional lawmakers condemned what they said are TikTok’s ties to the CCP through its parent company, ByteDance.
Chase is an award-winning journalist. He covers Tennessee and other parts of the Southeast for The Epoch Times. For news tips, send Chase an email at [email protected].
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