NSU bans TikTok after governor issues executive order
Dec. 10.—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 alert about cybersecurity threats circulating through that platform.
Governor Kevin Stitt wrote an executive order on Dec. 8 banning the TikTok app for state government agencies, employees and contractors on state networks or state-issued devices, including cellphones, computers or any other device that connects to the Internet.
TikTok is a social media application that features short-form videos on various topics including dance, cooking, tips, news, jokes and more, including inflammatory and manufactured material. A read of the hashtag “Kevin Stitt” on the platform brings up several videos talking about the governor’s son, John Drew Stitt, who has recently been in the spotlight over allegations that he possessed alcohol as a minor. Material about Hunter Biden’s laptop is also abundant.
A press release from the Governor’s Office says the executive order is in response to ongoing national and cybersecurity threats posed by TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and the dissemination of user 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,” Stitt said.
This ban on downloading and using TikTok also applies to state universities. NSU students, staff and faculty were notified of this measure in an email from University Relations on December 9. The email says the university’s employees, departments and student organizations must delete TikTok accounts related to NSU and delete the app if “hosted on Devices owned, leased or managed by NSU.”
“Northeastern State University is in compliance 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 blacklisted social media platform and cannot be accessed from the campus network.”
The university’s email advised that anyone who downloads the TikTok app to a personal cell phone for which they are receiving a grant must delete the app from that device or “stop taking the grant 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.