Gavin Newsom clings to TikTok account after Congress bans Chinese app in most states

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is still clinging to his TikTok account as a growing number of red and blue states across the country are at least partially banning the app.

Congress banned the use of TikTok on federal government devices in a omnibus bill signed by President Biden a few weeks ago due to security concerns voiced by Republicans and Democrats alike.

The U.S. military has also banned TikTok on military devices, and more than half of the country’s states have passed laws to prevent the video-sharing app from being downloaded to government devices.

TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. Its critics say the Chinese government can access user data such as browsing history and location, and promote communist propaganda through the app.

U.S. President Joe Biden (left) listens to California Governor Gavin Newsom's speech after inspecting storm damage and addressing victims in Seacliff, California on January 19, 2023.

U.S. President Joe Biden (left) listens to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s speech after inspecting storm damage and addressing victims in Seacliff, California on January 19, 2023.
(Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

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Concerns surrounding the popular social network have intensified since last year’s report that a TikTok team in China had accessed the data of US TikTok users, including two journalists.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in California have introduced bills to restrict TikTok on state-issued devices.

California Senate Republican leader Brian Jones and Democratic Senator Bill Dodd introduced legislation to ban public employees from downloading social media apps like TikTok that are associated with a “country of concern.”

A photo of a person on TikTok.  The app keeps track of all your personal information.

A photo of a person on TikTok. The app keeps track of all your personal information.
(Fox News)

Dodd told KCRA that while Newsom probably doesn’t have government devices, his staff who manage his accounts probably do.

“I say bad luck,” Dodd said. “It’s up to you to protect people’s data; we are all responsible.”

Jones said he hopes Newsom deactivates his accounts.

“I hope the governor will follow the Senate’s lead and deactivate his account,” Jones told CBS 8, “until we are sure these issues are resolved.”

Newsom’s office responded to the publication by saying, “We have our experts looking into the issue, but we don’t have anything to share at this time.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom walk to make remarks after inspecting storm damage and interacting with victims in Seacliff, California on January 19, 2023.

U.S. President Joe Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom walk to make remarks after inspecting storm damage and interacting with victims in Seacliff, California on January 19, 2023.
(Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

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The governor’s press office did not respond to a request from Fox News Digital asking whether the governor had access to TikTok on government devices, whether he believes there are security issues associated with TikTok, and whether he plans to delete his accounts in the future.

Newsom’s official TikTok accounts “gavinnewsom” and “caGovernor” boast 432,000 followers. One of the governor’s latest videos shows him criticizing “red state politicians” for their alleged “authoritarianism”.

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California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in San Francisco, California.

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in San Francisco, California.
((Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images))

It’s not that Newsom is opposed to banning things he sees as harmful. In 2020, he announced a ban on sales of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 in an effort to combat climate change. In 2021, he announced a 2024 ban on the sale of new gas-powered lawn equipment and signed legislation to prevent large retailers from not including a gender-neutral aisle for children’s toys.

While efforts to curb TikTok have been bipartisan, Democrats still primarily use the app on their personal devices. A recent analysis by State Newsroom found that at least 32 members of Congress — all Democrats and one independent — had TikTok accounts as of early January, and at least half of those members are either “currently in session or formerly in office.” on foreign affairs committees. , US military, investigations and homeland security”.

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To avoid massive US bans, TikTok has reportedly offered to increase its transparency by giving US officials control of its algorithms as part of a $1.5 billion reorganization of its US operations.

Brec Dumas of Fox News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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