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Commissioners Ban TikTok from Cleveland County, Okla., Devices

In a unanimous vote this week, Cleveland County commissioners opted to ban TikTok from all county-owned devices. The move closely follows a Dec. 8 executive order issued by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

(TNS) — Cleveland County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the TikTok app on all county devices.

District 1 Commissioner and Chairman Rod Cleveland told fellow commissioners the county's proposed resolution "basically mirrors" the one Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt enacted Dec. 8 via an executive order.

"Maintaining the cybersecurity of county government is necessary to continue to serve and protect Cleveland County residents and we will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information," Cleveland said in an email to The Transcript.

District 2 Commissioner Rusty Grissom agreed.

"Due to security concerns we voted in favor of the resolution banning TikTok on county-owned networks, devices, and/or other County-issued property. This decision follows the executive order from Governor Stitt. Cybersecurity is of the upmost importance and we want to protect our county."

Congress also banned the app on federal devices last month under its bipartisan spending bill.

The decision follows the belief that the China-based company uses the app to mine user data without permissions and poses a security threat to the user or organization whose users access it.

It was not known if the app had been found on county devices, but County Clerk Tammy Belinson told The Transcript her department banned it "a long time ago."

County spokeswoman Joy Hampton, who manages the county's social media accounts, said she does not have a TikTok app for the county.

TikTok is owned by Byte Dance and according to Politico, admitted to accessing journalists' data. According to Byte Dance's privacy policy on its website, the company stores data in the U.S. and Singapore.

Former President Donald Trump attempted to ban TikTok over national security concerns in 2020.

The ban would have stopped any transactions between Americans and the company, but his executive order faced a lawsuit over due process rights violations and that the ban was unconstitutional.

A federal judge later blocked the order.

Last month, the University of Oklahoma prohibited users from accessing TikTok on university-owned devices, and blocked its use on personal devices when using OU wired and wireless networks.

The university has told The Transcript it is re-evaluating the ban because it does not apply to public universities.

©2023 The Norman Transcript, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.