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Local News

Hobbs Bans TikTok on State Devices

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by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, Arizona Mirror
April 5, 2023

Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order Wednesday banning the use of the social media app TikTok on all state owned devices as universities and even some countries make similar moves.

The executive order comes on the heels of a growing concern that the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, ByteDance Ltd, is harvesting users’ data to advance its own political agenda

The order also outlines that the Arizona Department of Homeland Security and the Arizona Department of Administration will begin reviewing other smartphone applications starting Dec. 1 to determine if other applications should face similar scrutiny. The agencies will then report to the governor annually about which applications they recommend for restriction. 

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The executive order states that within 30 days, all state agencies shall remove TikTok from state-owned or state-leased devices. Personal devices used for state work also must remove the app. In addition, Arizona DHS and the ADOA will begin implementing a plan to prohibit the download and installation of the app on state devices and access to it on state networks. 

The United States Military and even local police departments have been using TikTok as a means of trying to communicate with younger audiences and for recruiting, and local governments across the country have also used it as a means of communication. The executive order appears to have a carve out for this since it allows state agencies to seek exceptions through a written request to the ADOA and Arizona DHS. 

The request must include how the agency intends to use the prohibited application, how it intends to mitigate the associated cybersecurity risks and how long it intends to use the app. The executive order also orders ADOA to develop procedures and appropriate disciplinary actions for violations. 

The executive order comes on the heels of Arizona’s three major universities saying they’re banning the app on their campuses. The app has been already banned from use by federal employees as well as NATO.   

More than half the states in the country have banned TikTok on government devices, Arizona now joins that list. 

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Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: info@azmirror.com. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.