Ohio Bans TikTok & WeChat From State Government Devices

January 9, 2023

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Sunday signed an executive order banning several Chinese-owned social media apps, including the popular TikTok and WeChat, from state government devices over security concerns.

Ohio is the latest of roughly two dozen states to have banned TikTok from its government devices.

Congress, meanwhile, included language in the massive, end-of-year omnibus spending bill that banned TikTok from federal government devices.

The bans follow warnings from FBI Director Chris Wray, who said in November that the Chinese government could use the video sharing app to control data collection on millions of American users, or to control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. TikTok has said that it prioritizes its community’s privacy and security and that it is working to address security concerns raised by the U.S., including highlighting its progress on a deal to move American info onto Texas-headquartered Oracle servers.

Even so, state governments and U.S. lawmakers continue to press. In Congress, Rep. Raj Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) co-sponsored legislation in 2022 to prohibit TikTok from operating in the U.S. altogether. He called the government device ban in the omnibus bill an appropriate initial step and said there was a “groundswell of support” for wider action.

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