Critics of TikTok, a widely popular social media platform, say the app creates national security concerns because of its ability to track users’ data — and because the Chinese government can compel that data from the Chinese company that developed and owns TikTok, ByteDance. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin announced Monday that he has banned TikTok on all department-issued devices, following similar action the U.S. Senate took over concerns about the social media company’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
The ban affects only 11 cellphones, Secretary of State spokesman John Tobler said, but Ardoin has also blocked the app from the department’s wifi networks and computers.
In a press release Monday, Ardoin said he wants Gov. John Bel Edwards to prohibit the app on all state-issued phones and devices – a move governors have already made in Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Edwards’ office has an account on TikTok that features videos with the governor.
Proponents of such efforts have said that TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, poses security risks and could be sharing the private data of Americans with the Chinese government.
“As Secretary of State, I have the serious responsibility of protecting voters’ personally identifiable information, which is why I have taken the step of banning the use of TikTok on all devices owned or leased by my agency,” Ardoin wrote in a letter to Edwards. “I wholeheartedly believe that doing so on a statewide level would protect our data and reaffirm our commitment to privacy protections for our constituents. Therefore, I urge you to issue a directive banning the use of TikTok on our state government’s devices with immediate effect.”
The U.S. Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the No TikTok on Government Devices Act. The bill would prohibit certain individuals from downloading or using the video-sharing app on “any device issued by the United States or a government corporation.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said she would support adding the ban to a federal funding bill, according to a report by The Hill.
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