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Updated: December 12, 2022 @ 12:19 am
A social media app has been banned from government-issued devices and entities in Oklahoma, including Northeastern State University, after state leaders received an FBI warning about cybersecurity threats circulating through that platform.
Gov. Kevin Stitt penned an executive order on Dec. 8 that bans the TikTok app for state government agencies, employees and contractors on government networks or government-issued devices, including cellphones, computers, or any other device capable of internet connectivity.
TikTok is a social media app featuring short-form videos on various topics, including dancing, cooking, tips, news, jokes, and more, including inflammatory and fabricated material. A perusal of the hashtag “Kevin Stitt” on the platform brings up several videos talking about the governor’s son, John Drew Stitt, who was recently in the spotlight over allegations he possessed alcohol as a minor. Material about Hunter Biden’s laptop is also abundant.
A press release from Office of the Governor states the executive order is in response to ongoing national and cybersecurity threats created by TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and dissemination of users information within the Chinese Communist Party.
“Maintaining the cybersecurity of state government is necessary to continue to serve and protect Oklahoma citizens, and we will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information,” said Stitt.
This ban on the download and use of TikTok applies to state universities as well. NSU students, staff, and faculty were notified of this measure in an email from University Relations on Dec. 9. The email states the university’s employees, departments, and student organizations must delete TikTok accounts concerning NSU and to delete the app if “housed on NSU-owned, leased, or managed devices.”
“Northeastern State University is complying with Gov. Stitt’s Executive Order 2022-33,” said Dan Mabery, vice president for University Relations. “Therefore, university-owned/leased/managed equipment, including the NSU network, may not be used to download or access the TikTok application or website. As a result of the Executive Order, access to the TikTok social media platform will be blacklisted and cannot be accessed from the campus network.”
The university email advised that anyone who has the TikTok app downloaded on a personal cell phone for which they receive a stipend should either delete the app from that device or “cease taking the stipend immediately.”
The executive order can be read in full at: https://oklahoma.gov/content/dam/ok/en/governor/documents/EO%202022-33%20TikTok%20EO.pdf .
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First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.