Gov. Abbott bans TikTok on government-issued devices

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all Texas state agencies to ban the use of TikTok on government-issued devices due to security concerns.

The app is owned by a Chinese company, and Abbott says the threat of the Communist Party continues to grow.

The ban has to be enforced by each state agency's IT department.

"TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, and it's not subject to the privacy regulations that U.S. companies hold U.S. citizens to," Dr. Donna Schaeffer with the Marymount University School of Technology and Innovation said.

Abbott says there can be exceptions for criminal investigations, but they have to be reported to the Office of the Governor.

He also ordered the Department of Public Safety and Department of Information Resources to come up with a plan that state agencies can use when it comes to personal devices.

"DIR’s top priority is to protect the state government’s IT infrastructure in an ever-changing threat landscape.  As directed by Governor Abbott, DIR and DPS will work together to develop a plan for state agencies to deploy," DIR said in a statement.

"There have been allegations in the past that TikTok has located location data from users, which poses as a risk to people's personal privacy and their physical and cybersecurity," Schaeffer said.

The governors of Maryland and South Dakota have also banned the app.

"China hates us, and this application is extremely dangerous, because it gathers information off your phone, what websites you go to, potentially what keys you're hitting," South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said.

Some Austinites shared their reactions.

"I don't really see how it's a state issue. I feel like these things are better left to the federal government. I feel like a lot of Republican governors are trying to flex their muscles a lot these days," Alexander Octavius said.

"It's just another way Governor Abbott is going to repress people's freedoms in Texas," Patrick Krishock said.

"I'm personally not for it, I just think it's an invasion of privacy a little bit, they're just independently working, they're just trying to work a job," Jasmine Long said.

Abbott also said he wants to pass legislation making the directive permanent and creating similar requirements for local governments.