Rep. Nathan Carlow (R-Buxton) has submitted a bill that would prohibit state employees from using state-owned devices to access TikTok, a controversial social media site linked to the People’s Republic of China’s Communist Party.
TikTok is one of the most popular social media sites on the planet. The application serves up funny videos and, over time, it learns what a given user enjoys, serving them up more of that content.
However, the app is also a potential security and public health problem.
Security analysts have criticized the application for the amount of data it collects on users — data that is transmitted back to servers in the PRC. And health officials have warned that using the app may have deleterious consequences, especially for young people.
Several other states and government entities have already banned TikTok due to both the surveillance risk and the harmful effects of the applications algorithm.
Former President Donald Trump attempted to force the company that owns TikTok – ByteDance – to sell the company to an American tech firm, but the effort eventually stalled out.
ByteDance admitted in December that its employees have accessed user data in an effort to surveil journalists who were reporting on the company’s links to Chinese communists. story.
The social media site has also drawn criticism for the kinds of content it serves up to younger users.
A Wall Street Journal investigation found, for example, that the site serves potentially harmful content to kids.
A WSJ investigator created dozens of fake accounts, telling TikTok that they were 13-year-old girls, and found that the site served up weight-loss videos within a few weeks. Health professionals told WSJ the social media app may be contributing to a rise in mental illness among younger Americans.