Republican Governor of South Dakota Bans TikTok on State-Owned Devices

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has issued an executive order banning state employees and contractors from accessing the video platform TikTok on state-owned devices, citing its ties to China

Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, on Tuesday issued an executive order banning state employees and contractors from accessing the video platform TikTok on state-owned devices, citing its ties to China.

“South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “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.”

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a company headquartered in Beijing, and has been targeted by Republicans who say the Chinese government could access user data like browsing history and location.

The U.S. armed forces have also prohibited the app on military devices.

TikTok’s nearly addictive scroll of videos have also struggled to detect ads that contain blatant misinformation about U.S. elections, according to a recent report from nonprofit Global Witness and the Cybersecurity for Democracy team at New York University.

It's unclear if many, or any, state employees were actively using TikTok on state-owned devices. But with the move, Noem is the latest lawmaker to urge for tougher action to be taken against the popular short-form video app, potentially scoring some political points in the process.

There has been renewed criticism of TikTok this year, stemming from a Buzzfeed News report in June that said some US user data has been repeatedly accessed from China. The reporting cited leaked audio recordings of dozens of internal TikTok meetings, including one where a TikTok employee allegedly said, "Everything is seen in China."

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.