The Commercial Appeal

What to know about the Desoto Tiktok ban on county devices

- Gina Butkovich

Desoto County has banned the popular social media app Tiktok on devices used by county employees to do their work.

The Board of Supervisor­s voted unanimousl­y last Monday to ban Tiktok from county-owned phones and other mobile devices used in its workforce.

Here’s what to know about Tiktok and the Desoto County ban.

Why is there a push to ban Tiktok?

Tiktok is owned by a private company, Bytedance, but it has close ties to the Chinese government. There have been government­al bipartisan questions about whether users’ data is safe.

FBI Director Christophe­r Wray told Congress in November that he is “extremely concerned” China could weaponize data collected through the app and, in December, Tiktok confirmed to Forbes magazine that its employees improperly tracked the locations of three of the magazine’s journalist­s.

Also in December, President Joe Biden approved a limited Tiktok ban prohibitin­g the use of Tiktok by the federal government’s employee devices.

What does a Desoto County Tiktok ban mean?

Tiktok is not allowed to be on the phones that county employees use to do their work with.

This likely will not be a major change for most employers. Christie Barclay, the Desoto county community resource director, said that there are already measures in place to prevent the downloadin­g and viewing of “quite a few things” when it comes to video and apps.

The official ban is to get it on the record and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Have others banned Tiktok?

At the state level, Tiktok is already banned in Mississipp­i, following a directive issued by Gov. Tate Reeves in January. State employees were directed to delete the app from their stateissue­d devices by the end of January and the governor instructed Mississipp­i Department of Informatio­n Technology Services to block access to Tiktok for non-state-issued devices that access state networks.

More than 30 other states, including Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia, have also instituted various Tiktok bans.

Gina Butkovich covers Desoto County, storytelli­ng and general news. She can be reached at 901-232-6714.

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