Utah Republican Governor Spencer Cox issued an executive order on Monday that bans TikTok from all state-owned devices, citing “security threats by China and China-based entities.”
“China’s access to data collected by TikTok presents a threat to our cybersecurity,” Cox said. “As a result, we’ve deleted our TikTok account and ordered the same on all state-owned devices. We must protect Utahns and make sure that the people of Utah can trust the state’s security systems.”
Our administration takes security threats by China and China-based entities seriously. This is why we’re banning TikTok on all state-owned devices effective immediately. Read more here: https://t.co/Bca3HVya5v pic.twitter.com/Zh1CuEYxnD
— Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox (@GovCox) December 12, 2022
TikTok has more than 100 million users in the U.S. China-based ByteDance owns the social media platform.
The communist nation’s laws allow the government to force companies in China to provide data, which could include information from state-issued devices in Utah, Cox warned.
The decision adds Utah to a growing list of Republican-led states to recently enact similar policies.
On Thursday, Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt issued his executive order to ban TikTok from state devices.
“Maintaining the cybersecurity of state government is necessary to continue to serve and protect Oklahoma citizens and we will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information,” he said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Texas became the largest state to ban the app, with Republican Governor Greg Abbott denouncing TikTok.
“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,” he wrote in a letter.
The Daily Wire previously reported that Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan announced a ban on TikTok from the state’s government devices.
“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.
Last Monday, South Carolina Republican Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order banning TikTok from government devices.
In South Dakota, Republican Governor Kristi Noem signed a similar executive order and made it a criminal offense to download the app on a state device.
Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and other Wisconsin lawmakers sent a letter to Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers calling for similar action in their state.
In Arkansas, state Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R) filed a bill last week that would prohibit TikTok on state devices.
A Republican bill by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced legislation last month to ban the app in the U.S. outright.
Indiana also brought two lawsuits against TikTok last week related to data privacy and content targeted toward children, The Daily Wire also reported.
The concerns regarding TikTok reach back several years. In 2020, Nebraska Republican Governor Pete Ricketts issued the first such order to ban the app from state electronic devices.
That same year, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban the use of TikTok nationwide. The policy was never implemented, with President Joe Biden revoking the order in June 2021.