Evers insists decision to ban TikTok from state devices isn’t change of course

WATERTOWN, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers is disputing characterizing his decision to ban the social media app TikTok from all state devices as a change of course despite saying last month he did not plan to block the app from the small number of government devices on which it is installed.

Speaking to reporters in Watertown Tuesday, Evers insisted he “never really changed course” on the decision and decided on the ban after speaking with the FBI and other agencies.

“I never really changed course,” he said. “We just wanted to make sure we touched bases with the people that knew what the dangers are — or not dangers — and so we consulted with the FBI and other emergency management folks and came to the conclusion we did, so it’s not a change of mind, it’s a matter of getting the information we needed to make that decision,” he said.

Following calls from Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Mike Gallagher, to ban TikTok on state devices, Evers said in December his administration was monitoring the situation but that he wasn’t looking to ban the app.

RELATED: Gov. Evers to issue executive order banning TikTok on state devices

On Friday, the governor’s office announced he plans to issue an executive order banning the app from state devices, with the ban expected to come this week.

Multiple other states have issued similar bans, citing TikTok’s ownership by Chinese company ByteDance. Gallagher has argued any data ByteDance collects could be intercepted and analyzed by the Chinese government, which the company disputes.

As part of an omnibus bill President Joe Biden signed into law last month, TikTok will be banned from all federal devices.