Following trend, Utah governor bans TikTok on state-owned devices

Dec 12, 2022, 9:22 AM | Updated: 1:11 pm
Utah republican Gov. Spencer Cox joins at least five other states by banning the use of TikTok on s...
Gov. Spencer Cox delivers his 2022 State of the State address. at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)
(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox issued an order Monday morning banning the social media app TikTok from all Utah government-owned devices.

Anyone who uses state-owned devices cannot download, use or open TikTok under the ban.

In a press release about the order, Cox cited security concerns that surround the popular app.

“China’s access to data collected by TikTok presents a threat to our cybersecurity,” said Cox in the press release. “As a result, we’ve deleted our TikTok account and ordered the same on all state-owned devices. We must protect Utahns and make sure that the people of Utah can trust the state’s security systems.”

The press release also states concern about the Chinese government’s ability to compel companies headquartered in China with data gleaned from the app. According to the governor, that data “may include personal data, intellectual property, or proprietary information of users in the United States.”

In a Tweet about the order, Cox said his administration takes security threats seriously.

Cox’s order will immediately take effect.

Bye bye TikTok

One of the state’s agencies, the Utah Department of Transportation used TikTok this year as a way to inform the public. UDOT’s account hit viral numbers with a video in April that featured a dancing animation of Shrek.

But after Cox’s announcement, UDOT’s account was no more.

“We support the governor and we have, we have a lot of different ways that we communicate with the public,” said UDOT’s Public Relations Director John Gleason. “We’ll look at our other platforms and how we can kind of beef up the coverage there and really get that information out there.”

Cox responded to the loss of the account by saying viewers could still see UDOT’s videos on other social media platforms.

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Following trend, Utah governor bans TikTok on state-owned devices