The U.S. state of Kentucky joined more than 20 other states on Friday (13th) in banning the use of the short video app TikTok on government-controlled devices, citing cybersecurity concerns.
Kentucky has updated its employee handbook to prohibit state employees from using government-managed devices to connect to the TikTok app “except for law enforcement purposes.”
Wisconsin and North Carolina signed executive orders on Thursday banning employees from using TikTok on state government devices, and Ohio, New Jersey and Arkansas took similar action earlier this week.
Some states in the United States have not only banned Douyin. For example, New Jersey and Wisconsin have also banned suppliers, products and services from China, including Huawei Technologies, Hikvision, Tencent Holdings (WeChat app maker), ZTE, and Kaspersky Lab in Russia is also on the banned list.
TikTok responded that this trend is politically manipulated, which is disappointing, and that the policies it enacted do nothing to advance cybersecurity in the state, and these policies are based on unfounded lies about TikTok.
So far, most of the states that have banned TikTok are governed by Republican governors, and most of the states that are headed by Democrats have refused to cooperate, but Wisconsin, North Carolina and Kentucky are headed by Democratic governors.
The ban on TikTok from government devices has grown louder since FBI Director Christopher Wray declared in November that TikTok posed a threat to national security. Wray said Chinese authorities could use the app to influence users or take control of their devices.
Douyin, which has more than 100 million users, has repeatedly assured Washington for three years that it will not access the personal data of U.S. citizens and that its content will not be manipulated by the CCP or other entities in Beijing.
U.S. President Joe Biden signed a government funding bill last month that includes a ban on federal employees using or downloading TikTok on state-owned devices. The bill gives the White House Office of Management and Budget 60 days to “develop a set of standards and guidelines for implementing agencies’ removal of TikTok from federal facilities.”