Governor of California Gavin Newsom is still holding on to its TikTok account as a growing number of red and blue states across the country at least partially ban the app.
Congress banned the use of TikTok on federal government devices in an omnibus bill President Biden signed weeks ago, amid security concerns raised by both Republicans and Democrats.
The US military has also banned TikTok from military devices, and more than half of the country’s states have passed laws banning the video-sharing app from being downloaded onto government devices.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company which moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. Its critics claim that the Chinese government can access user data, such as browsing history and location, and promote communist propaganda through the app.
Concerns surrounding the popular social network have grown since last year’s report that TikTok’s China team had accessed the data of American TikTok users, including two journalists.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in California have introduced bills to restrict TikTok on government devices.
California Senate Republican Leader Brian Jones and Democratic Sen. Bill Dodd have introduced legislation that would ban government employees from downloading social media apps like TikTok that are linked to a “country of concern.”
Add said to KCRA that while Newsom probably doesn’t have government tools, his staff who keep his accounts probably do.
“I say bad luck,” Dodd said. “You have to protect people’s data; we are all responsible.”
Jones hopes Newsom will deactivate his accounts.
“I hope the governor follows the Senate’s lead and deactivates his account as well,” Jones told CBS 8“until we can get assurance that these issues have been resolved.”
Newsom’s office responded to the release, saying, “We have our experts looking into this issue, but there is nothing to share beyond that at this time.”
The governor’s press office did not respond to a request from Fox News Digital about whether the governor had access to TikTok on state devices, whether he considers security issues related to TikTok, or whether he plans to delete his accounts in the future.
Newsom’s official TikTok accounts “gavinnewsom” and “cagovernor” have a combined 432,000 followers. One of the governor’s latest videos showed him criticizing “red state politicians” for their alleged “authoritarianism.”
It’s not that Newsom is against it forbidding things he considers harmful. In 2020, he announced a ban on the sale of new cars with gas engines until 2035 to combat climate change. In 2021, he announced a ban on the sale of new gas lawn equipment until 2024 and signed a law banning major retailers from having a gender-neutral aisle for children’s toys.
While efforts to restrict TikTok have been bipartisan, Democrats still use the app heavily on their personal devices. A recent analysis by States 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 “currently serve or have previously served on committees dealing with foreign affairs, U.S. Armed Forces, Investigations, and National Security.”
To avoid broad US bans, TikTok has reportedly offered to increase its transparency by giving US officials oversight of its algorithms as part of a $1.5 billion reorganization of its US operations.
Breck Dumas of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.