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SD Gov. Kristi Noem bans TikTok on state government devices

Following an executive order on Nov. 29, TikTok, a wildly popular and controversial social media app owned by Chinese company ByteDance, will no longer be legally accessible on state-owned and state-leased devices. In the order, Gov. Kristi Noem referenced the potential for data collected by ByteDance to be handed over to Chinese authorities.

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Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at her "Salute to Veterans" fundraiser on Oct. 24. Following promises to "thwart CCP expansion," Noem banned the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on Nov. 29, citing data privacy concerns.
Jason Harward / Forum News Service
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Following a promise to “further thwart [Chinese Communist Party] expansion” following a recent Fox News appearance, Gov. Kristi Noem is taking aim at TikTok, a Chinese-owned social media site with around 135 million users in the United States, the majority of them young people.

In an executive order signed on Nov. 29, Noem announced the state will prohibit the downloading or use of the TikTok app and website by state government agencies, employees or contractors using state-owned or state-issued devices capable of internet connectivity.

The order takes effect immediately.

“South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us,” Noem said in a press release announcing the change. “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.”

Several government entities, including the United States Military and the Transportation Security Administration, have taken similar steps on government-issued devices, mainly fearing that TikTok’s broad data collection, and the potential sharing of that information with the Chinese government, could compromise national security.

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“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 wrote.

The controversial app also recently came under scrutiny after a 60 Minutes feature described the different algorithms the company offers to young people in China compared to the United States. While Chinese children younger than 14 see a selection of patriotic videos and science experiments and are limited to 40 minutes of use per day, children in the West can scroll for hours with little protection from videos with adult themes.

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Jason Harward is a Report for America corps reporter who writes about state politics in South Dakota. Contact him at 605-301-0496 or jharward@forumcomm.com.

Jason Harward covers South Dakota news for Forum News Service. Email him at jharward@forumcomm.com.
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