Bill would prohibit state entities, employees and contractors from using TikTok – Arkansas Times

A bill filed today in advance of the 2023 Arkansas legislative session would ban public entities from downloading the popular social media app TikTok. It would also prohibit state employees and contractors from downloading the app on a state device.*
The proposed legislation comes from Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch), who historically has resided in the rightest extreme wing of the General Assembly, with his fellow traveler Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville) co-sponsoring.
This is an issue that’s been simmering for some time and seems to be heating up. TikTok, the world’s most popular app, is owned by the Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have voiced concerns about the Chinese Communist Party’s potential access to user data.
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order last week that does what Stubblefield’s bill would do. In 2020, President Trump said the app would be banned from the U.S. in 45 days, then said that it should be sold to a U.S. company, then dropped the issue.
Sen. Tom Cotton has been especially bellicose about TikTok.
If you have Tik Tok on your phone, delete it.
Then get a new phone.
Your privacy and security depend on it.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) November 17, 2022

He’s also suggested it’s likely a propaganda tool for the Chinese and that Chinese citizens working for TikTok in the U.S. on guest visas may have ties to the Communist Party.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has called the social media giant an enormous threat.
But many politicians, especially younger ones, have fully embraced the app. Sen.-elect John Fetterman used it to take down challenger Mehmet Oz’ tone-deaf riff on crudite. U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Georgia) and Stacey Abrams post a lot. In Arkansas, Kelly Krout, the Democratic challenger for lieutenant governor, has amassed a huge following.
I LOVE THEM. The team AR needs. @jonesforar #kellyforarkansas
♬ original sound – maree

UPDATE: I think I misread two ideas into this bill, when there was really only one, that contractors can’t use TikTok on a state-owned device:
“A person or entity that contracts with the state shall not  download or use the TikTok application or visit the TikTok website on a state-owned device or state-leased equipment.”
What I previously and likely erroneously wrote (though look for more contractor rope-ins this session).
The restriction on contractors would mean that, for instance, the Arkansas Times, which occasionally gets state advertising, wouldn’t be allowed to have a TikTok account. We don’t have one because our top editors are middle aged and don’t understand TikTok, but obviously that would be a violation of our First Amendment rights just like the law that requires state contractors to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel, which we’ve sued over.
*This post has been updated to reflect the correction noted in the update.
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