Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order banning TikTok and WeChat from being used on state government technology.
Youngkin signed the executive order on Friday and said that the applications are a clear threat to national security.
“TikTok and WeChat data are a channel to the Chinese Communist Party, and their continued presence represents a threat to national security, the intelligence community, and the personal privacy of every single American,” Youngkin said. “We are taking this step today to secure state government devices and wireless networks from the threat of infiltration and ensure that we safeguard the data and cybersecurity of state government.”
Specifically, the order bans TikTok, WeChat, and any products made by ByteDance Limited or Tencent Holdings Limited from being used on state government devices and state-run wireless networks.
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The order also requires contractors who work with the state government to “prohibit the use of those applications on state-owned devices or IT infrastructure.”
State employees who already have TikTok, WeChat, or any other products made by ByteDance Limited or Tencent Holdings Limited on government devices are being told to uninstall the applications by Dec. 31.
Virginia joins several other states such as New Hampshire, Alabama, Idaho, Utah, and Georgia, who have taken similar actions against TikTok and other companies based in China.
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FBI Director Christopher Wray said during a Dec. 2 speech at the University of Michigan that Chinese officials have broad access to TikTok, allowing them “to manipulate content, and if they want to, to use it for influence operations.”
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values, and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States. That should concern us,” Wray said.
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However, during a September Senate hearing, TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas attempted to refute the notion that the company shares users’ data.
“We will never share data, period,” Pappas said.
Fox News’ Lawrence Richard and Leah Crawley contributed to this report.
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