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South Carolina second state to ban TikTok

Published in Blog on December 06, 2022 by Jakob Fay

On Monday, South Carolina banned its employees from using TikTok on government devices, becoming the second state to do so. As Convention of States Action reported, Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota did the same in her state last week. Both states cited concerns that the Chinese government-owned company posed a threat to state security.

“I am requesting that the social media platform TikTok be permanently removed, and access blocked from all state government electronic devices that are managed by the Department of Administration,” wrote South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “Protecting our State’s critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and businesses. Federal law enforcement and national security officials have warned that TikTok poses a clear and present danger to its users, and a growing bi-partisan coalition in Congress is pushing to ban access to TikTok in the United States.”

TikTok’s algorithm has been calibrated to meticulously mine user data, which many worry is fed back to the Chinese Communist Party. Theoretically, this data could be used to “track the locations of government employees, build dossiers for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage.” Other nations, including India, Ireland, and the UK, have taken government action against TikTok to safeguard against these security concerns.

When Governor Noem barred state employees from using the social media platform she commented 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.”

A Convention of States Action and Trafalgar Group poll from earlier this year revealed that nearly 60% percent of voters supported efforts to remove TikTok from app stores after it was leaked that American user data can be accessed by TikTok employees in China.

“TikTok not only presents a grave national security threat to the United States, but research is also finding it is highly addictive and dangerous for young people. In addition, TikTok is run by ByteDance—a company with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party,” said Convention of States Action President Mark Meckler. “A majority of voters agree that TikTok’s digital warfare against the United States must be stopped, and expect Washington, DC—which has the ability to do something about this right now—to take action now to protect our nation, rather than pandering Chinese influence."

Unfortunately, the federal government has been slow to take action against TikTok. President Joe Biden even revoked Trump’s attempts to ban the platform. Ultimately, however, this is an issue of self-governance; We the People should have the prudence and judgment to stay away from an app that steals our data and exposes our kids to radical, addictive content.

Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see that South Carolina and South Dakota are stepping to the plate to protect their citizens – hopefully, many other states follow suit.

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