Biden WeChat

FILE - Icons for the smartphone apps WeChat are seen on a smartphone screen in Beijing. 

(The Center Square) - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has banned the China-based app Tencent from all state-owned devices, citing a possible cybersecurity risk.

The company owns WeChat and several gaming apps. Former President Donald Trump issued an executive order prohibiting WeChat transactions in 2020. The Biden administration rescinded the ban.

The Biden administration included foreign cybersecurity risks in an executive order issued in November of last year that requires the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to investigate possible threats from other countries.

In her executive order, Noem gave the commissioner of the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications to ban any other apps deemed harmful.

“My number one responsibility as governor is to keep the people of South Dakota safe. South Dakota started the movement that has swept the country to ban TikTok on government devices,” Noem said in a statement. “Now, I am extending that ban to Tencent and other Chinese companies that are threats to our security.”

Noem was the first governor to ban TikTok from state devices in November 2022. Other governors, both Democrats and Republicans, have followed.

Lawmakers in several states, including Georgia, have also targeted Chinese-owned apps, including TikTok and WeChat.

Congress is also investigating foreign-owned apps. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before Congress in March. Last month, House and Senate Republicans asked Congressional leadership to prevent lawmakers from using TikTok. The app is already banned on federal government devices.

Associate Editor

Kim Jarrett's career spans over 30 years with stops in radio, print and television. She has won awards from both the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.