South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has signed an executive order banning TikTok — a Chinese social media app that has been accused of surveillance and manipulation of users — from state government devices.
After signing the executive order on Tuesday, Noem released a statement about her decision — asserting that “South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us.”
“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 wrote.
Noem’s statement went on to detail exactly which individuals and entities would be covered by the executive order.
“The order takes effect immediately and would apply to employees and agencies of the State of South Dakota, including persons and entities who contract with the state, commissions, and authorities or agents thereof,” the statement read. “The order prohibits downloading or using the TikTok application or visiting the website on state-owned or state-leased electronic devices capable of internet connectivity.”
“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,” Noem’s statement concluded.
The South Dakota governor is just the latest public official to speak out against TikTok over concerns of surveillance of American citizens.
In early November, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr advocated for a total ban of TikTok in the U.S. over privacy concerns.
“There simply isn’t a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party],” he said.
In 2020, the Trump administration attempted to institute such a ban — which would have resulted in ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, divesting from the platform and an American company taking over.
In mid-November, FBI Director Christopher Wray noted that the Chinese social media app continues to be a “national security concern.”
Meanwhile, Republicans have consistently called out TikTok for various reasons, including election interference. Scott Adams, the Dilbert cartoonist and political commentator, has argued that the app could have actually helped Democrats win the midterms.
“The group of Americans that controlled the election outcome are the group of Americans that China controls through TikTok,” he said, later adding: “Allowing TikTok, a Chinese company … to be the primary channel for the most important group of voters in the United States. Do you see any problem there?”
Others, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), argue for banning TikTok due to its censorship and because it is addicting for children. The two lawmakers have proposed legislation to ban the app.
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) November 28, 2022