TikTok Bans Piling Up: Ohio and New Jersey Will Also Nix the App on Government Devices New Jersey included a list of other companies based in China and Russia in its ban so that the "cybersecurity of the State is unified against actors who may seek to divide us," said Phil Murphy, the state's governor, in a statement.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Bloomberg / Contributor I Getty Images
Phil Murphy, governor of New Jersey, in March 2022.

New Jersey and Ohio have joined the growing pile of states that have banned the short-form video app TikTok from government devices, according to Reuters.

New Jersey announced its ban on Monday, and Ohio's governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order on Sunday, shortly after being sworn in for his second term, per 10TV.

"This decisive action will ensure the cybersecurity of the State is unified against actors who may seek to divide us," said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in a statement.

TikTok gained steam in the U.S. after merging with Musical.ly in 2018. The company said it had over 1 billion users in 2021. According to Pew Research Center, 67% of U.S. teens aged 13 to 17 say they have used TikTok.

National security concerns were raised by the federal government as early as 2018, AND President Trump tried to ban the app, but it was blocked in court.

TikTok has been negotiating with the U.S. Government through entities including The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to continue operating in the country.

Related: U.S. Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Ban TikTok

TikTok has said that U.S. user data is processed in the U.S. and Singapore but has also admitted certain employees in China can access U.S. user data.

TikTok's claims have not stopped a growing chorus of regulatory concerns, particularly after FBI director Chris Wray spoke publicly about security concerns about the app in November, as Axios noted.

Prior to the New Jersey and Ohio announcements, at least 14 states banned the app on government devices, per The New York Times.

GovTech, says that at least 22 states have implemented some sort of regulatory move related to TikTok since 2020, per Axios. India's attorney general Todd Rokita has also sued the company.

TikTok told Entrepreneur via email it was "disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok."

"We are continuing to work with the federal government to finalize a solution that will meaningfully address any security concerns that have been raised at the federal and state level," the company added.

Related: 'The TikTok App Is A Malicious And Menacing Threat': Indiana Files First State Lawsuits Against TikTok

As the CFIUS negotiations have dragged on, politicians have gotten restless, particularly in Congress, where a bill to ban the app in the U.S. has been introduced, the outlet added.

Reuters even reported that TikTok put on hold hiring consultants who would help it enact a national security deal with the U.S., which suggests the CFIUS process is not going well.

New Jersey's ban included companies other than ByteDance-owned TikTok, including Alibaba, which is based in China, and Kaspersky Lab which is based in Moscow (though it has a North American company based in Massachusetts and is owned by a UK-based holding company).

Ohio's executive order also banned companies on government devices besides TikTok. It applies to apps owned by any company based in China. The order said it was protecting people from the "surreptitious data privacy and cybersecurity practices," of China's communist party.

Wavy Line
Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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