China’s influence on America’s youth is of growing concern.
And government officials are beginning to take notice.
Now some states are taking a major step in shutting down this viral app for young people.
TikTok no longer available on college networks in these states
State governments are using college campus networks to hit Chinese owned TikTok where it hurts.
Going forward, at least six states across the U.S. have taken the step of blocking the app while on government-run university wireless networks.
A variety of policies have now taken effect at universities in Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Idaho, Maryland, and Montana, though some states have pushed harder on their education sector.
Texas acted in December banning any access at all Texas State Universities.
Governor Abbott issued a statement warning against the links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), saying they were acting out of concern for data surveillance.
Bans impact all agencies in some states
Abbott’s statement read, “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.”
The Texas ban wasn’t exclusive to schools but rather on “all Texas state agencies.”
This was actually the case with several of the states that restricted access to the app at schools.
These blanket bans applied to any state-issued devices and networks in most scenarios.
The governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte issued a similar executive order in his state.
He also pointed to the nefarious practices of the company and warned of CCP links.
Gianforte added it was “well documented” that they are using the app to “spy on Americans.”
And he’s right.
As President, Donald Trump was regularly warning about TikTok.
And it goes further than just spying on people.
FBI Director Wray says the app could be used for “influence operations”
Recently at a speech at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at University of Michigan, FBI Director Wray warned about the app.
He said that Chinese officials and the CCP can “manipulate content, and if they want to, use it for influence operations.”
Wray said that this is an especially big problem because “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.”
He added that this “should concern” everyone.
Research associate from the Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center, Jake Denton, praised the move by states seeking to ban TikTok in an interview with FOX Business but issued a similar warning as Chris Wray.
TikTok is “logging everything” it can
Denton explained that the app can “replicate” pop up ads and make people feel like they are using the web browser on their phone.
The app, however, is using its own browser and “they’re logging everything in that environment.”
Denton warned that means “they have your password, they have your username.”
Beyond logging of information, Denton warned about the trove of location and behavior data that the app logs on each individual.
This is an incredibly concerning problem for Americans unwittingly using TikTok for viral videos and entertainment.
Patriot Political will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.