Connecting state and local government leaders
The move comes as the app faces increased scrutiny in the U.S. over its ties to the Chinese government.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order Tuesday banning TikTok from state devices, citing concerns about the Chinese-owned app’s data-collection practices.
“South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us,” Noem said in a statement.
TikTok, an app used for sharing short videos, quickly rose to be one of the most popular online social media platforms, particularly among younger users. But the app and its parent company, ByteDance, have been under increasing scrutiny for ties to the Chinese government.
Even so, some state and local officials and agencies have turned to the platform as a way to communicate with the public.
In South Dakota, Noem’s ban, which is effective immediately, prohibits all state government employees and contractors from downloading the TikTok app or visiting its website on state devices, according to a press release.
Noem said she’s concerned that data collected by the platform could be used to “manipulate” users. Other leaders have expressed similar worries in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, both Republicans, introduced legislation that would ban TikTok nationwide, saying they fear that the Chinese government could obtain sensitive information about government employees and spy on millions of Americans.
Days later, FBI director Christopher Wray told a House committee his agency is concerned about China using TikTok to influence users or control software on devices that have downloaded the app.
Noem called on other states to follow South Dakota’s lead, adding that she hopes congress will take action as well.
The governor’s move banning the app comes against the backdrop of upheaval at Twitter, brought on by tycoon Elon Musk’s takeover of the company. Amid the turmoil, some public agencies are weighing how to move ahead with their official accounts on that social media app.
Meanwhile, another Republican governor and possible 2024 presidential contender, Ron DeSantis of Florida, on Tuesday lashed out over the notion of Apple removing Twitter from its App Store, while also criticizing Apple’s business ties to China.
Molly Bolan is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.
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