Social media shutdown

Texas cracks down on TikTok

TikTok+will+no+longer+be+allowed+on+government+issued+devices+in+Texas.+Concerns+have+been+expressed+over+the+app+stealing+information.+

Photo by Anna Haley

TikTok will no longer be allowed on government issued devices in Texas. Concerns have been expressed over the app stealing information.

Story by Kamryn Jean, Opinion Editor

As of Dec. 7, 2022, Texas Governor Greg Abbott placed a ban on TikTok on all government issued devices. 

The aggressive action taken against the social media platform was influenced by the “threat of the Chinese Communist Party gaining access to critical U.S. information,” the official website of Abbott said. 

TikTok collects data from users, such as name, age, email address and phone number. It can also determine the approximate location of a specific user using IP addresses. Based on content shared or liked, or by who a person follows, the app can identify an individual’s interests.

The app is owned and operated by Chinese tech giant ByteDance. This worries American government officials because of the extent to which the Chinese government exerts control over the tech companies based in the country. 

“Further, under China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all businesses are required to assist China in intelligence work, including data sharing,” the Office of the Texas Governor said. “Tiktok’s algorithm has already censored topics politically sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Governor Abbott has directed all state agency leaders to put an immediate ban on the application on government issued desktops, cellphones and laptops. Each state agency will have until Feb. 15, 2023 to implement their own policies that will address the use of TikTok on their personal devices.

Texas is not the first state to address the growing concern for privacy on social media platforms like TikTok. Maryland, South Carolina and Delaware have all implemented their own form of a ban on the social media platform.

“We are happy to meet with state policymakers to discuss our privacy and security practices,” TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown said. “We are disappointed that many state agencies, offices and universities that have been using TikTok to build communities and connect with constituents will no longer have access to our platform.”