South Dakota's Kristi Noem bans the use of TikTok on government devices, says China uses the platform to 'manipulate' Americans

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11, 2021.Brandon Bell/Getty Images
  • US officials have raised security concerns about TikTok, which is owned by a Chinese company.

  • On Tuesday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order restricting the app for officials.

  • The ban will prohibit state officials from using TikTok on government devices, Noem said.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem banned the use of TikTok on government devices on Tuesday, saying China uses the social media platform to manipulate Americans.

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

"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," she added.

The order, which Noem signed on Tuesday, takes effect immediately. It is unclear how many South Dakota state employees were actively using TikTok on government-owned devices.

US officials have, for years, raised security concerns about TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

Earlier this year Buzzfeed reported that ByteDance had repeatedly accessed non-public data about US TikTok users.

After the Buzzfeed report was published, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew told Republican Senators in a letter that the company was working with Oracle to protect the data of its US users "with robust, independent oversight."

But last month a report by Forbes found that an internal team at the company was planning to use location information gathered from US users for surveillance purposes.

A representative for TikTok did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Noem is not the only US politician making moves to ban the app in some form.

Wisconsin GOP Representative Mike Gallagher on Sunday renewed his calls for a nationwide ban on TikTok, calling the platform "digital fentanyl" that is "addicting our kids."

"Tiktok is owned by ByteDance, ByteDance is controlled by the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], that means the CCP can track your location, it can track your keystrokes, it can censor your news — why would we give our foremost adversary that amount of power?" Gallagher said.

The Trump administration proposed a total ban of the app in 2020, while the Biden administration promised a security review of foreign-owned apps last year, although it has yet to publish its results.

US's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) views China as a top cyber threat.

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