Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a ban of the Chinese-owned app TikTok from the state’s government devices Tuesday.
The TikTok ban was included in an emergency cybersecurity directive aimed at multiple Chinese and Russian apps and products.
“There may be no greater threat to our personal safety and our national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives,” Hogan said in a statement. “To further protect our systems, we are issuing this emergency directive against foreign actors and organizations that seek to weaken and divide us.”
“This action represents a critical step in protecting Maryland State systems from the cybersecurity threats caused by foreign organizations,” Maryland’s Chief Information Security Officer Chip Stewart added.
The new ban comes after FBI Director Christopher Wray recently warned about the national security concerns surrounding TikTok.
“The Chinese government has shown a willingness to steal Americans’ data on a scale that dwarfs any other,” Wray said Friday at the University of Michigan.
Maryland’s ban adds to a growing number of states that are moving to ban the social media platform.
On Monday, Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order banning TikTok from government devices.
“Protecting our State’s critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and businesses,” McMaster wrote in the letter to the state’s Department of Administration Executive Director Marcia Adams.
Last month, Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem became the first governor to ban TikTok from state devices, including making it a criminal offense to download the app on a state device.
“South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us,” Noem said in a statement. “The Chinese Communist Party uses information that it gathers on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data off the devices that access the platform.”
On Tuesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and other Wisconsin lawmakers sent a letter to Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers calling for similar action in their state, asking him to “ban TikTok from Wisconsin government devices and to lead by example and delete TikTok from your own devices.”
In Arkansas, state Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R) filed a bill on Monday that would enact a similar TikTok ban on state devices.
At the national level, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced legislation last month to ban the app in the U.S. outright.
“TikTok is a major threat to U.S. national security. Yet Biden is encouraging greater engagement with the platform by directly courting TikTok influencers,” they wrote in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post.
TikTok has faced scrutiny about the security risks it poses, both to individual data privacy and to national security. The concerns reach back to the Trump administration when then-President Donald Trump pushed to ban the app from the U.S.