Michigan Gov. Whitmer defends TikTok use, defying moves by other states to ban the app

by sam

Samuel Case, FISM News

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Sunday defended her use of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” as other states move to ban the app on government devices.

“We use TikTok on one device that has nothing else on it. It is a communication tool. We don’t do it because it’s fun, although some people think what I put out there can be fun on occasion. My kids disagree,” Whitmer told Taper, who said he had deleted the app because of the security risk.

Whitmer continued, “We have it on one device that has no access to anything else because so many people get their information that way. Whether we like it or not, that is a tool for disseminating important information. And that’s how we use it.” 

The governor said her team is “always evaluating” its use of the app “to make sure that we are protecting data in Michigan.” 

Whitmer’s defense of the app comes despite bipartisan concern that the Chinese-owned platform could be used by Bejing to obtain sensitive information on American citizens and push pro-China narratives to younger Americans. The comments also came as China is under increased scrutiny from lawmakers as a suspected balloon was shot down a week ago after gathering unknown amounts of information on sensitive sites as it passed over the U.S.

Kentucky is likely to become the 31st state to ban TikTok for government-issued devices. On Friday, the state Senate voted unanimously on legislation that would put the restriction in place.  It now proceeds to the state House for approval where it is likely to pass.

Texas Governor Greg (R) Abbott also announced plans this month to ban TikTok from all government-issued devices and networks.

“The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored,” said Governor Abbott in a statement.

His announcement follows President Biden signing into law a TikTok ban for devices owned by the federal agencies, with some exceptions for law enforcement and national security purposes. Biden signed the legislation in December as part of an omnibus spending bill.

In January Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was joined by Rep. Ken Buck (R.-Colo.) in introducing a bill that would ban TikTok nationwide.

“TikTok is China’s backdoor into Americans’ lives,” Hawley tweeted at the time. He also warned that the app “threatens our children’s privacy as well as their mental health.”