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Louisiana Secretary of State bans TikTok from department devices

By: - December 19, 2022 3:26 pm
In this photo illustration, a cellphone can be seen displaying the logos for Chinese apps WeChat and TikTok in front of a monitor showing the flags of the United States and China.

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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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Among his recognitions are McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association. Muller is an alumnus of Jesuit High School and the University of New Orleans and is a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Louisiana with his wife and two sons.

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