Virginia Tech professor explains recent TikTok and WeChat bans on government tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) – Governor of Virginia. Glenn Youngkin banned the use of TikTok and WeChat on state technology on Friday. In particular, applications developed by “ByteDance Co., Ltd.” and “Tencent Holdings Co., Ltd.”

Dr. James Ivory is a professor in the School of Communication, Virginia Tech. Ivory explained that this is not the first time such a ban has occurred.

“This is a theme that has come up before 2020. Then President Trump issued a ban that was very similar in nature and almost the same, banning countries from using these platforms. And in 2021, the current President Joe Bye Deng toned down the ban a bit, maintained some scrutiny, but lifted the ban on the actual app.”

Of concern remains China’s access to U.S. data.

“It’s not necessarily that people think these companies are malicious, but that it’s easy for the Chinese government to pressure them to get Americans’ data.”

Ivory said it all depends on the security of the data, and states have the power to make decisions about government employees’ devices and WiFi.

“I think the concern at the state level is justified, it’s a country that we do a lot of business with, but it’s also a country that we have a tense relationship with.”

Mori. Mark Warner recently released a statement saying he supports these bans on government equipment.

“As a former governor and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I am pleased to see Virginia ban TikTok on government devices. TikTok has the Chinese Communist Party’s stamp of approval, and because of its data collection practices and ability to reach and manipulate Americans, it has serious implications for the state. Security poses a serious threat. I want to see more states take action to keep our government technology away from the CCP.”

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