The governor of South Dakota signed an executive order on Tuesday banning state agencies, employees and contractors from accessing TikTok on government equipment, citing the Chinese-owned social media platform as a “growing national security threat.”
“South Dakota will not engage in intelligence-gathering operations against a country that hates us,” Gov. Kristi Noem said in a news release. “The Chinese Communist Party uses information collected on TikTok to manipulate the American people, collecting data from the devices that access the platform.”
The order is effective immediately.
It is unclear whether many or any state employees are actively using TikTok on state-owned equipment. But with the move, Noem becomes the latest lawmaker to press for tougher action on the popular short-video app, potentially scoring some political points in the process.
already have new criticism TikTok’s security concerns this year stemmed from a Buzzfeed News report in June that said some U.S. user data had been repeatedly accessed from China. The report cited leaked recordings of dozens of internal TikTok meetings, in which a TikTok employee allegedly said, “Everything is seen in China.”
In a response to the report, TikTok previously said it “has always maintained that under these strict controls, our engineers in locations outside the US, including in China, can be granted access to US user data as needed.” TikTok One of the top executives of the company testified before a Senate panel last year that it does not share information with the Chinese government and that U.S. security teams determine who can access U.S. user data from China.
“Because we have a serious responsibility to protect the private data of South Dakota citizens, we must take this action immediately,” Noam said. “I hope other states follow South Dakota’s lead, and Congress should take broader action.”
– CNN’s Catherine Thorbecke contributed to this report.