April 16, 2024

On Wednesday, Montana governor Greg Gianforte didn’t solely ban TikTok state-wide. He also accused Telegram, WeChat, and the purchasing app Temu of being “tied to international adversaries” and directed that they and comparable apps be banned from authorities units and all state enterprise. Gianforte additionally cited TikTok proprietor ByteDance’s CapCut video editor and Lemon8 as examples of offending apps.

With this ban, Gianforte largely appears to be focusing on apps with ties to China, on condition that ByteDance, Temu proprietor Pinduoduo, and WeChat proprietor Tencent are all primarily based within the nation. Telegram is the exception: it was based in Russia however is at present headquartered in Dubai. Gianforte’s letter claims that the Russian authorities makes use of the app to “monitor customers and acquire private, delicate, confidential info,” maybe referencing Wired’s February report.

Montana’s new coverage can be in impact on June 1st. The record of units that may’t have the apps contains “all state-issued cell telephones, laptops, tablets, desktop computer systems, and different units which connect with the web.” And the ban received’t simply apply to authorities workers: Gianforte says that “any third-party companies conducting enterprise for or on behalf of the State of Montana shall not use these functions.”

Gianforte had already blocked TikTok on authorities units or units related to the state community as of December, so this expands that coverage to a collection of different main apps. WeChat and Telegram Messenger are widely-used for chats, for instance, and purchasing app Temu is at present the preferred free app within the US within the App Retailer and Google Play. If the offending apps are at present downloaded on any units, Gianforte has instructed them to be “instantly eliminated.”

Regardless of Gianforte’s claims it’s “well-documented” that TikTok gives private info and knowledge to the Chinese language Communist Social gathering, it’s unclear if proprietor ByteDance truly relays that knowledge again to the federal government. However as we reported in March, Congress doesn’t appear notably within the solutions — many have already made up their minds.