China Grove latest to ban TikTok

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 8, 2023

CHINA GROVE — China Grove became the latest governing entity to ban the social media app Tik Tok from all town devices.

TikTok is a video-sharing mobile application with more than 94 million users in the U.S.

However, it is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance Ltd., which has connections with the Chinese Communist Party.

“If anyone has been watching the news, you would know that TikTok allows large amounts of data to be harvested from devices,” Mayor Charles Seaford said.

A memorandum to the mayor and town council members highlighted the possible problems that could take place if those programs remain on China Grove devices.

In addition to collecting sensitive citizen, financial and business data, the memo outlined conducting cyber-espionage, compromising business emails and manufacturing disinformation and misinformation campaigns.

The recommendation from the town was to prohibit any product from ByteDance Ltd. from being used in or connected to any China Grove network or installed on any town-issued device, including laptops, computers, tablets and mobile phones.

Exceptions were granted for law enforcement use.

On Dec. 29, President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which contained the No TikTok on Government Devices Act.

“The exception for law enforcement use is in line with those federal regulations that banned TikTok use on government-issued devices,” China Grove Councilwoman Cheryl Sheets said. “China Grove is setting an example in defense of invasion of privacy.”

Sheets pointed out that it is not a total ban on TikTok for citizens in China Grove. It’s just banning it through town networks.

China Grove Councilman Don Bringle added, “If you go to a town park and our citizens use city Wi-Fi, TikTok will be blocked on the phone. They can go on their phone and switch over to their service. We are not totally stopping it. We are just not allowing it through government Wi-Fi. It’s not a total ban. We’re just keeping it off our network.”

The motion takes effect immediately.