Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs bans TikTok on state-owned devices

Apr 5, 2023, 12:45 PM | Updated: 2:06 pm

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)...

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs on Wednesday issued an executive order banning social media app TikTok on state-owned devices.

Hobbs said state agencies have 30 days to be compliance and will have the opportunity to apply for exemptions.

“This is a necessary step to ensure the protection of state data and reflects our commitment to keeping Arizonans safe,” Hobbs said in a press release.

“My office is working closely with state entities to ensure this transition happens smoothly.”

One state agency has already followed suit.

Attorney General Kris Mayes said Wednesday before the Hobbs order that the Chinese-owned platform is banned on office-owned devices, citing potential security risks.

That ban does not apply to personal devices owned by agency employees.

“Data security is paramount, especially for government agencies that handle sensitive information,” Mayes said in a press release. “We cannot risk the potential exposure of our data to foreign entities.”

TikTok has come under fire in recent months amid concerns that its parent company, ByteDance, would give user data — such as browsing history and location — on demand to the Chinese government, or push propaganda and misinformation on its behalf.

Congress, the White House, U.S. armed forces and more than half of U.S. states have already banned TikTok on government-owned devices.

China says the bans reveal the United States’ insecurities and are an abuse of state power.

But they come at a time when Western technology companies, including Airbnb, Yahoo and LinkedIn, have been leaving China or downsizing operations there because of Beijing’s strict privacy law that specifies how companies can collect and store data.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs bans TikTok on state-owned devices