ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — It could be one of the most popular social media platforms to date, but some state officials are issuing caution when it comes to using the TikTok app. One lawmaker proposed a bill that would ban the app on state-issued electronic devices.
Whether it’s just for laughs, gym tips or life hacks, the short-form video sharing app rose to fame in the U.S. in 2017, allowing users to create 15-second videos on any topic. But the Chinese-owned app wasn’t well received by everyone, including former President Donald Trump, who called TikTok a threat to national security. “Under Chinese law, Chinese companies are required to essentially, and I’m going to shorthand here, basically do whatever the Chinese government wants them to in terms of sharing information or — or serving as a tool of the Chinese government,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. New York State Senator Kevin Thomas has proposed a bill prohibiting state agencies from using the app on state-issued devices. Over the past 24 hours, Alabama and Utah join several other states banning TikTok on state devices.
Thomas Germain is a tech reporter for Gizmodo, a design and technology website. He says TikTok has access to information like your personal contacts, location data, email address and phone number. “Then what’s also … maybe a little less intuitive is what they can learn about how you’re using the app, right? So the videos that you’re watching, what you swipe on, what you don’t swipe on, what you spend more time looking at, this can reveal a lot about your interest,” said Germain. He said this kind of information is powerful, “If you’re trying to influence a massive population of people by spreading propaganda or suppressing certain ideas, having an idea of what messages do and don’t work is a really powerful tool.”