Virginia is the latest state to ban TikTok from state government phones and wireless networks, with Gov. Glenn Youngkin issuing an executive order on Friday.
The move comes on the heels of a unanimous Senate vote on Wednesday on a bill that would prohibit individuals from downloading or using the app on devices issued by the federal government.
That legislation has the backing of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said Friday that she supports adding legislation to ban TikTok on government devices to a federal funding bill.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has introduced legislation that would extend that ban nationwide.
“This isn’t about creative videos — this is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day. We know it’s used to manipulate feeds and influence elections,” Rubio said in a statement on his proposed legislation this week.
Rubio’s colleague on the Intelligence Committee, committee chair Mark Warner, who is also a former governor of Virginia, said in a statement that he is on board with Youngkin’s action in Virginia regarding TikTok.
“TikTok has the stamp of approval of the Chinese Communist Party and it poses a serious national security threat due to its data collection practices and its ability to reach and manipulate Americans. I hope to see more states take action to keep our government technology out of the CCP’s reach,” Warner said.
Youngkin said Friday that TikTok and WeChat, which is also subject to the ban in his executive order, “are a channel to the Chinese Communist Party, and their continued presence represents a threat to national security, the intelligence community, and the personal privacy of every single American.”
“We are taking this step today to secure state government devices and wireless networks from the threat of infiltration and ensure that we safeguard the data and cybersecurity of state government,” Youngkin said.
Attorney General Jason Miyares, like Youngkin, a Republican, has joined a bipartisan group of 43 state AGs investigating TikTok’s physical and mental impact on children, and noted in a statement on Friday that “studies have shown that it negatively impacts the mental health of our youth.”
“As this investigation continues, I am glad that Gov. Youngkin is addressing the serious security risks TikTok poses for the Commonwealth,” Youngkin said.
Executive Order #24 can be found here.