A bill that would ban the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok from state-owned devices will have a public hearing on Tuesday.
Rep. Nathan Carlow (R-Buxton) has introduced the proposed a ban on the video hosting service.
The bill authorizes the Commissioner of Administrative and Financial Services to prohibit any program, application, or electronic service on state-owned computers or electronic devices, specifically targeting TikTok.
“TikTok is a national security threat; the White House says so, the Department of Homeland Security says so, and Congress says so,” Carlow said in a written statement.
“It’s time to permanently ban its use on state owned devices so we can protect the privacy of all Maine citizens,” he said.
TikTok has long faced accusations that it is a foreign policy tool of the People’s Republican of China and its ruling Communist Party. Critics believe TikTok’s algorithm harms youth mental health — perhaps intentionally — while allowing the parent company, ByteDance, to access user data and surveil users on behalf of PRC officials.
Similar debates over allowing TikTok to operate within the U.S. or on federal devices have been ongoing in Washington, D.C., for years.
The public hearing for LD 1007 – “An Act to Ban the Video Hosting Service TikTok on All State-owned Devices” will take place in the Committee on State and Local Government, Cross Building, Room 214, at 1:00 PM on April 18, 2023.
It’s unclear why government employees would have TikTok on state-owned devices in the first place.