South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order on Tuesday banning TikTok from being downloaded on official devices used by the state’s government employees. Noem said this ban was put in place in order to protect the privacy of the people of South Dakota.
The popular social media platform is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.
There have been many concerns about TikTok’s security and safety, including the Chinese parent company’s use of the private data (such as location information) of U.S. citizens, Wired reported.
On Nov. 15, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a House panel that the bureau has “national security concerns” about the platform’s U.S. operations.
“They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose, or to control software on millions of devices, which gives it an opportunity to potentially technically compromise personal devices,” Wray said during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Noem’s executive order banned all South Dakota government employees and contractors from using TikTok on state-issued, state-owned or state-leased cellphones, laptops or other internet-connected devices.
“This order is in response to the growing national security threat posed by TikTok due to its data gathering operations on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” the governor’s news release about the ban said.
“South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us,” Noem said in a statement. “The Chinese Communist Party uses information that it gathers on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data off the devices that access the platform.”
She added, “Because of our serious duty to protect the private data of South Dakota citizens, we must take this action immediately. I hope other states will follow South Dakota’s lead, and Congress should take broader action, as well.”
The TikTok ban went into effect immediately, the news release said.
Noem’s executive order received support on social media.
“The smartest thing was done in a long time, politically speaking. Kristi Noam banned Tik Tok use in South Dakota,” one Twitter user posted.
The smartest thing was done in a long time, politically speaking. Kristi Noam banned Tik Tok use in South Dakota.
— Nichole Beaver (@777Beaver) November 30, 2022
“Governor Noem just banned tik tok use from government use in South Dakota. When will the feds figure this out and follow suit. Good for her and SD,” another said.
Governor Noem just banned tik tok use from government use in South Dakota. When will the feds figure this out and follow suit. Good for her and SD.
— J Zaccarelli (@redbldmerican) November 30, 2022
Federal officials also have looked into blocking TikTok in various ways because of security concerns.
In September, Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota introduced a bill, called the Block the Tok Act, that would ban TikTok from being downloaded on federal government devices.
“According to TikTok’s own employees, ‘everything is seen in China.’ It might seem trivial to go after an app known for viral dance videos, but TikTok is a national security concern,” Johnson’s said in a statement at the time.
“TikTok has more than one billion users, and China is using Americans’ information to advance its communist agenda,” he said. “It’s no secret China’s goal is to replace the U.S. as the world’s superpower — Americans shouldn’t help China advance its agenda.
“Block the Tok keeps China’s hands off your personal information.”
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