(FiveNation.com)- While the FBI and other federal agencies continue to issue warnings about the national security threat that the social media app TikTok presents, one Republican governor is doing something about it.
This week, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said he has intentions of blocking TikTok from being used on any state-owned government device. He even took what is the first step to do that this week, by requesting that the state Department of Administration block access to the very popular video sharing platform on all devices that the South Carolina government manages.
This action came only a day after FBI Director Christopher Wray renewed his warning that TikTok — owned by Chinese company ByteDance — presents a national security threat to the United States.
In a letter, McMaster wrote this week
“Protecting our State’s critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our citizens and businesses. Federal law enforcement and national security officials have warned that TikTok poses a clear and present danger to its users, and a growing bi-partisan coalition of Congress is pushing to ban access to TikTok in the United States.”
TikTok is one of the most popular apps in the world. In fact, CNET reported recently that it’s the most downloaded app across the globe, since back in 2018. The app started as just a video sharing app for short clips, it’s increasingly become a major source of news and information for users.
Last week, Wray renewed his concerns about TikTok from a national security perspective. The FBI director said that the Chinese government could basically have access to information that’s stored on TikTok servers, which includes the data and personal information on millions of Americans.
He said the government in China could have the ability to control the recommendation algorithm within the app, which could allow it to manipulate content and influence people considerably. They also could steal vital information on U.S. residents.
Wray has stated these concerns in the past, including at congressional hearings this year.
ByteDance has continually said that it does not share any of its data with anyone, including the Chinese government. But, many of America’s top security officials doubt that is actually the case.
Some Washington lawmakers are now also calling for the ban of TikTok — as McMaster is in South Carolina — or for at least further investigations into the matter.
Wray did say last week that agencies in the U.S. government are working with officials at ByteDance to come to an agreement that would satisfy the FBI’s national security concerns.
Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok, said in a statement that was emailed recently:
“As Director Wray has previously said, the FBI’s input is being considered as part of our ongoing negotiations’ with the U.S. Government. While we can’t comment on the specifics of those confidential discussions, we are confident that we are on a path to fully satisfy all reasonable U.S. national security concerns and have already made significant strides toward implementing those solutions.”