Wisconsin governor Tony Evers has said last Friday that he plans to issue an order to ban the use of TikTok on government-managed devices. He joins at least 20 other states as they have passed the ban in the recent weeks.
Currently, more than 20 U.S. states have banned TikTok from state-owned devices citing concerns about its Chinese ownership. The states include Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia—amongst other states. Nebraska even banned TikTok from state-issued devices way back in 2020.
“It’s going to get even louder over the next year… unless significant changes are made with regard to how TikTok is run in the United States and its ownership structure has adjusted,” said Democrat representative of Illinois Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Last month, President Biden signed into law a government funding bill that included a ban on federal employees from using or downloading TikTok on government-owned devices. Currently, the Biden administration is still attempting to complete a national security review of the app.
At this rate, it isn’t impossible for TikTok to be banned from all devices in the country. A part of the reason why this is the case is that U.S. officials have argued that TikTok can share sensitive data about the location, personal habits, and interests of Americans with the Chinese government.
“This bill is an important and major move against TikTok and sends a signal to all Americans that if it is not safe for someone who has a federal device to have it, should my kid have it on his or her phone? Maybe not,” said Republican senator Josh Hawley.
The bans are also part of escalating tensions between the United States and China over global technology and economic leadership. The Biden administration has even introduced government spending programs to build technology supply chains within its own borders, ending decades of global trade policies.