Kentucky, Wisconsin and North Carolina have become the latest states to ban video sharing app TikTok from government devices.
Wisconsin and North Carolina announced bans on Thursday, with Kentucky making a similar decision on Friday.
The three states join more than 20 others in banning the popular app due to security and privacy concerns.
Kentucky stated it had made an update to its employee guidelines to ban staffers from installing the Chinese-owned app on their government-provided devices “other than for a law enforcement purpose,” Reuters reported.
New Jersey, Arkansas and Ohio made similar moves earlier in the week.
TikTok issued a statement saying it was "disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok."
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said that he ordered the ban, which also includes WeChat, after meeting with FBI and emergency management officials. He said that the apps endangered privacy, safety and security, according to the Associated Press.
“Defending our state’s technology and cybersecurity infrastructure and protecting digital privacy will continue to be a top priority,” Evers said on Twitter after announcing the ban.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper gave a similar explanation for banning the app.
“It’s important for us to protect state information technology from foreign countries that have actively participated in cyberattacks against the United States,” Cooper said. “Protecting North Carolina from cyber threats is vital to ensuring the safety, security, privacy, and success of our state and its people.”
TikTok is widely popular, with over two-thirds of American teenagers being users. It has become the second biggest social media app globally.
But both parties in Washington have become increasingly concerned that the Chinese government could use its legal powers to access the user data of American citizens or to spread misinformation.
In late 2022, the US House Committee on House Administration announced that it was banning TikTok from all House-managed mobile devices "due to a number of security risks,” CBS News reported.
House staffers are now barred from downloading TikTok onto House devices and must remove the app from any mobile devices onto which it is currently downloaded, according to a memo from House Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor.
Two weeks earlier, the Senate passed a bill that would ban TikTok from government devices.
Also that week, a bipartisan group of House reps. put forward a bill to ban TikTok from the United States.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), with the intent to protect the privacy of American citizens from apps under the influence of foreign governments of concern.
The measures came shortly after an FCC commissioner who previously urged Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores called on the US government to ban the video sharing app.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, the senior Republican on the commission, told Axios that a full ban on TikTok was the only way to protect Americans against the prospect of China covertly accessing the private information of millions of US TikTok users.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)