LISTEN: Gov. Brian Kemp ordered a ban on the use of TikTok on state devices Thursday. GPB's Riley Bunch reports.


An unusual memo went out to state agencies from Gov. Brian Kemp’s office Thursday morning.

The Republican governor notified executive branch heads that use of the popular social media app TikTok is banned from state systems and devices — including employee-issued laptops and cellphones.

The memo cites “government cybersecurity” concerns related to the app being owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance.

“The state of Georgia has a responsibility to prevent any attempt to access and infiltrate its secure data and sensitive information by foreign adversaries such as the CCP,” Kemp said in the order, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.

The new rules also prohibit the use of affiliated apps WeChat and Telegram.

Georgia officials aren’t the only ones concerned about potential risks to cybersecurity that the apps pose. In the past week multiple other state’s have moved to bar public employees from using the platform on state devices.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously on a bill that would ban the use of TikTok on all federal agency devices. This comes after FBI Director Christopher Ray warned lawmakers last month that it poses “national security concerns.”

“They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users,” he said. “Or control the recommendation algorithm which could be used for influence operations if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices.”

Bipartisan legislation that would create a national ban on use of the social media app altogether is also making its way through Congress.

Recently, Georgia Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Sen. Jason Anavitarte of Dallas, announced he would author legislation this upcoming session that would ban the app statewide.