Vermont bans TikTok on state-owned devices: Here's the reasoning.
Correction: An earlier version of this post included incorrect information about the ownership of TikTok and WeChat. TikTok is owned by ByteDance. WeChat is owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Vermont has banned the use of TikTok and WeChat on state-owned devices.
The popular social media apps are owned by the Chinese companies ByteDance and Tencent.
The Vermont Agency of Digital Services determined that TikTok poses a cybersecurity threat to critical state and personal information. That's why the app is now banned on all state devices.
The federal government and 27 states have taken similar action.
The new rule prohibits Vermont state employees and agency contractors from downloading TikTok or visiting any TikTok website on a state-owned electronic device. It also says state agencies are not allowed to sponsor TikTok content or maintain official TikTok accounts.
Previous reporting from NPR: Why the proposed TikTok ban is more about politics than privacy, according to experts
Agency Secretary Shawn Nailor says when a person downloads TikTok, it automatically gives the company access to an enormous amount of data. He says this is a serious problem because the company is based in China.
"There is Chinese security law that allow the Chinese government to compel companies headquartered in China to provide it with data," Nailor said, "so whether it's active, there's always the threat because of that approach within companies headquartered within China."
Nailor says the ban will also apply to the WeChat messaging app for the same reasons.
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