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Kansas follows Alabama’s lead on Tik Tok

TikTok Ban Kansas Explainer
Michael Dwyer/AP
FILE - The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone on Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, banned the use of TikTok on the state-issued devices of government workers under her control, becoming one of the first Democratic governors to restrict the popular social media app. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Tik Tok is no longer welcome on some state-owned devices in Kansas. Governor Laura Kelly signed an official state ban. This makes her one of the first Democratic governor to outlaw the popular social media site on government issued devices. Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire have banned TikTok earlier this month. This follows a similar move by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. All three have ordered state workers not to use the popular messaging applications on their computer devices controlled by their state governments. The Republicans issued their orders Thursday, also banning the messaging app WeChat.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a release saying that privacy is the issue. Ivey is among Tik Tok’s critics who say the app harvests data from its users. Tik Tok is creating a Trust and Safety team to counter its detractors. Georgia Governor Kemp says there's too much risk that the Chinese government can access the private information of TikTok users. They are among at least Republican governors to take such an action. There are also calls for Congress to ban the use of the programs from federal government computers. Critics say they fear the Chinese government is gaining access to critical information through the application and could be using it to spread misinformation or propaganda.

Governor Kelly’s action came five days after Congress approved the $1.7 trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill. The federal plan also bans TikTok from most U.S. government-issued devices for employees. Republican governors in at least fifteen states have already imposed such restrictions. TikTok has become the world’s second most popular app, which reportedly includes two-thirds of American teenagers in its consumer base.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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