by Scott McClallen
After the FBI declared the popular Chinese video app TikTok a national security threat, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to post on the platform.
Whitmer posted three videos in three days to her 186,000 followers. The most recent post is video of her second inauguration on Jan. 1.
Another video shows Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and Attorney General Dana Nessel walking through a door and into their second term.
TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd.
About 14 states have taken action to rid TikTok from state devices after FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the app “allows them to manipulate content, and if they want to, to use it for influence operations.”
Axios reported Wray telling an audience at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy: “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,” Wray said. “That should concern us.”
Whitmer’s office hasn’t responded to multiple requests from The Center Square for comment. Whitmer praised the FBI for its reaction to the 2020 plot to kidnap her, but it appears she’s not heeding the agency’s TikTok security concerns.
Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming have banned the app on state devices.
Wisconsin political leaders are also considering banning the app on state devices. Also, the Pennsylvania Treasury banned the app on government-owned devices. West Virginia officials have said they plan to pursue a ban on the app for state employee devices.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte banned the app, saying its used to harvest data from user devices for the Chinese Communist Party.
“Government’s chief responsibility is keeping its citizens safe and secure,” Gianforte wrote in a memo. “Use of TikTok on state devices poses a significant risk to the security of our state and Montanans’ sensitive data.”
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt warned of possible national and cybersecurity threats from the Chinese-owned social media app.
“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,” Stitt said in a news release.
A ban on TikTok on electronic devices managed by the U.S. House of Representatives is also included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Background Photo “FBI Headquarters” by Sammy Six. CC BY 2.0.