Texas is ordering state agencies to ban the use of TikTok, as well as other software connected to Chinese and Russian firms, by the middle of next week, governor Greg Abbott announced on Monday.

“The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored,” Mr Abbott said in a statement.

“Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity,” he added.

State agencies have until 15 February to formulate plans banning the downloading of TikTok, as well forbidding conducting state business on government or personal devices where TikTok is installed.

The plan also makes similar requirements surrounding the popular Chinese messenger app WeChat, the Russian cybersecurity software Kaspersky, and the Chinese mobile electronics maker Huawei.

The Independent has contacted TikTok, WeChat, Kaspersky, and Huawei for comment.

In December, the governor told state agency leaders to ban employees from using or downloading TikTok on government devices.

The University of Texas at Austin blocked access to TikTok on its Wi-Fi network in January in response to state policies.

Texas isn’t alone in scrutinising the popular video-sharing app, which has at least 100 million users in the US.

More than half of US states have partially or fully banned TikTok from government devices, a CNN analysis found.

The move from Texas also comes against a backdrop of heightened security concerns in the US towards China.

Last week, a military jet shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, and defence officials disclosed that multiple such aircraft have entered US airspace in recent years.

“The balloon did not pose a military or physical threat. Still, its intrusion into American airspace over several days was an unacceptable violation of US sovereignty,” the Defense Department website states, noting that an official said that “Chinese balloons briefly transited the continental United States at least three times during the prior administration”.

Chinese officials say the balloon was not meant for espionage and was a civilian research vessel which drifted off course.

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