State Watch

Utah governor orders TikTok ban for state government employees

A logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) has implemented a ban on TikTok within the state’s government branches, joining a growing list of GOP governors who have taken action against the Chinese-owned social media platform due to security concerns. 

In a news release on Monday, Cox ordered that state employees may not download or use the TikTok application or visit any TikTok website on any state-owned devices. The latest executive order also applies to all executive branch agencies in the state.

The news release also notes how Chinese national security laws allow its government to order Chinese-based companies to provide them with personal data or information from U.S. users. 

“China’s access to data collected by TikTok presents a threat to our cybersecurity,” Cox said in a statement. “As a result, we’ve deleted our TikTok account and ordered the same on all state-owned devices. We must protect Utahns and make sure that the people of Utah can trust the state’s security systems.”

Utah follows other GOP-led states such as Maryland, South Dakota and Texas that have implemented measures to prohibit the use of TikTok within their state’s government branches. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week announced that he had implemented a ban on TikTok on state government-issued devices, citing security concerns. 

Abbott also wrote a letter to Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) on the matter, urging him to pass legislation that will codify his latest directive and to ensure there are similar requirements being made in the state’s local government branches. 

TikTok, which has more than 100 million users in the United States and is owned by the Chinese-based country ByteDance, has become popular among younger Americans. 

In an interview with Axios last month, Brendan Carr, one of the five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), told the news outlet that the government should ban should implement a ban on TikTok data concerns. 

“We’re disappointed that so many states are jumping on the bandwagon to enact policies based on unfounded, politically charged falsehoods about TikTok,” TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown said in a statement to The Hill on Monday. “It is unfortunate that the many state agencies, offices, and universities on TikTok in those states will no longer be able to use it to build communities and connect with constituents.”

Tags ByteDance Censorship of TikTok Greg Abbott Greg Abbott Spencer Cox Spencer Cox tiktok TikTok ban
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