TikTok banned on Louisiana’s Department of State devices

Dec 18, 2022, 9:46 PM | Updated: Dec 19, 2022, 12:39 pm

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s Secretary of State, Kyle Ardoin, announced Monday that he is banning TikTok on all devices issued by the Department of State.

In addition, the Republican urged Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to follow suit and immediately ban the use of the popular video sharing app on all of the state government’s devices.

“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 said in a letter to the Democratic governor. “I wholeheartedly believe that doing so on a statewide level would protect our data and reaffirm our commitment to privacy protections for our constituents.”

As of Monday afternoon, Ardoin’s office said that they had not yet received a response from the governor. Edwards has a verified account on TikTok, which has mainly been used to urge residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

At least 14 governors have ordered their agencies not to use TikTok on state-issued devices. Among those states are Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, North Dakota, Texas and Utah.

In 2020, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to ban TikTok, but it never passed the House. Other bills to regulate or ban TikTok and other apps are also pending in Congress. The U.S. armed forces have prohibited the app on military devices.

Critics say they fear the Chinese government is gaining access to critical information through the application and could be using it to spread misinformation or propaganda. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company.

While there has been much debate about whether the Chinese government is actively collecting data from the app, TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas, based in Los Angeles, has said the company protects all American users’ data and that Chinese government officials have no access to it.

Earlier this month, TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown told The Associated Press that it is disappointing that some state and federal officials are “promoting falsehoods” to ban the platform.

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TikTok banned on Louisiana’s Department of State devices