On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced a statewide plan to ban the social media platform TikTok over its ties to the Chinese Communist Party. State agencies will have until the middle of next week to ban the app and other forbidden software on their devices.
Abbott made the plan known on Twitter, where he outlined the risks posed by those who used the app.
Today, I’m announcing a plan to ban TikTok in Texas.— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) February 6, 2023
It’s critical that state agencies are protected from the Chinese Communist Party as they work on behalf of Texans.
Learn more about my plan to keep Texas secure: https://t.co/mJrtyuuMdA pic.twitter.com/cN3A0dhbXv
“The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored,” Abbott said in a statement.
“Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity. Other prohibited technologies listed in the statewide model plan also produce a similar threat to the security of Texans,” he added. “It is critical that state agencies and employees are protected from the vulnerabilities presented by the use of this app and other prohibited technologies as they work on behalf of their fellow Texans.”
The ban would prevent the download of TikTok on state-issued devices, including tablets, cell phones, laptops and any other technology capable of connecting to the internet. In addition, the plan would include restrictions on using TikTok on state-issued internet networks. State agencies' IT departments will have until Feb. 15 to implement policies to comply with the plan.
In recent months, several universities in the Lone Star State have blocked access to TiKTok on campus WiFi.
“The university is taking these important steps to eliminate risks to information contained in the university’s network and to our critical infrastructure,” University of Texas at Austin’s technology adviser Jeff Neyland wrote to students in January. “As outlined in the governor’s directive, TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices — including when, where and how they conduct internet activity — and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government.”
Following UT Austin's announcement, several more Texas schools announced similar measures, including the University of Texas at Dallas and the Texas A&M University system, according to The Texas Tribune.
On Friday, as Townhall covered, a balloon was discovered hovering nearby a military base in Montana. The balloon came from China, and the Chinese foreign ministry claimed it was used to monitor the weather and that it had gotten misdirected due to wind. Reportedly, U.S. officials began to "obscure" sensitive locations near the balloon before it was ultimately shot down over the ocean.