Should TikTok be banned on state government devices? Republicans ask Gov. Evers to remove the app

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Republican members of Wisconsin's delegation in Congress are asking Governor Tony Evers to ban the popular video-sharing app TikTok from state government devices, calling it a national security threat.

In a letter to Evers Tuesday, Republicans requested the app to be removed on state government devices and urged him to delete his own account, arguing the Chinese government can use TikTok to spy on users and promote Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

"The United States Congress and multiple Biden Administration officials have raised concerns about TikTok on national security grounds and even called for a ban," Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Mike Gallagher, Rep. Glenn Frothman, Rep. Bryan Steil, Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, and Rep. Tom Tiffany wrote.

"These concerns are not localized at the federal level—this affects the Wisconsin state government and Wisconsinites at large. As governor, you should prohibit this app from state government devices," lawmakers wrote.

The letter comes after FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress last month the app, owned by ByteDance located in Beijing, poses national security concerns because it can be used to influence users or control their devices.

Evers used his TikTok account during the midterms as did many other politicians to promote their campaigns and platforms.

Britt Cudaback, a spokeswoman from the Evers administration, said they regularly consult with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and other counterintelligence specialists about cybersecurity and take the issue "very seriously."

"We will continue to defer to the judgment and advice of law enforcement, cybersecurity, and counterintelligence experts regarding this and other evolving cybersecurity issues," said Cudaback.

Rep. Gallagher, who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has called TikTok problematic for months and recently wrote in a Washington Post op-ed TikTok's "algorithm is a black box, in that its designers can alter its operation at any time without informing users."

Sen. Ron Johnson's letter to Gov. Evers can be read in full below:

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