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South Dakota governor bans TikTok over ties to Chinese gov't

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem banned TicTok from state-issued phones on Tuesday. File Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem banned TicTok from state-issued phones on Tuesday. File Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has banned state employees and contractors from using social media platform TikTok on their electronic devises over fears the smartphone application could be used to collect U.S. user data for China.

The ban, which goes into immediate effect, was imposed Tuesday via executive order that prohibits users of state-owned electric devices from using them to download the TikTok application and to visit the social media company's website.

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

The announcement comes amid growing concerns that the Chinese Communist Party could force the social media platform's Chinese-based company ByteDance to collect data for it from U.S. users.

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Republicans have for years been warning about the potential national security risks of the social media platform due to its connections to the CCP. The Pentagon has also banned TikTok from government devices, though officials may use the service on their personal phones.

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In June, BuzzFeed reported that U.S. user data has been repeatedly accessed from China.

In October, an investigation by Global Witness and the Cybersecurity for Democracy team at NYU also found that TikTok, which does not allow political ads, approved 90% of advertisements containing outright false and misleading election misinformation.

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TikTok has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Noem on Tuesday said she hopes other states follow her lead and ban the social media behemoth.

"Because of our serious duty to protect the private data of South Dakota citizens, we must take this action immediately," she said.

RELATED Report says TikTok, Facebook failed to stop political disinformation

"Congress should take broader action as well."

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