Indiana’s Office of Technology announced Thursday Chinese-owned social media app TikTok has been blocked from state devices.
Office Spokesman Graig Lubsen said TikTok is “blocked from being used in our state system and on our state devices” as of Dec. 7, according to The Journal Gazette via the Associated Press.
In an email to the newspaper, Lubsen said the office “is constantly testing the state system and making sure that the integrity is intact.”
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has been outspoken against using the social media app in general, saying Thursday it is “more important than ever” to protect children from the app and encouraging parents to delete it from their child’s phone.
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In a 29-second video posted to Twitter, Rokita demonstrated how parents can set controls and content restrictions on an iPhone.
“Our children are our greatest assets, so we must take action now,” he concluded.
The blockage was initially announced Dec. 8, the same day Rokita sued the social media app, claiming the platform misleads its users about the level of inappropriate content and security of consumer information.
He said in a complaint that even though the social video app claims to be safe for users 13 years and older, it contains “salacious and inappropriate content” available to young users “for unlimited periods of time, day and night, in an effort to line TikTok’s pockets with billions of dollars from U.S. consumers.”
A separate complaint from Rokita argued the app has users’ sensitive and personal information but deceives consumers into believing that information is secure.
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TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. In a company statement at the time, TikTok said its “top priority” is “the safety, privacy and security of our community.”
“We build youth well-being into our policies, limit features by age, empower parents with tools and resources, and continue to invest in new ways to enjoy content based on age-appropriateness or family comfort,” the statement said. “We are also confident that we’re on a path in our negotiations with the U.S. Government to fully satisfy all reasonable U.S. national security concerns, and we have already made significant strides toward implementing those solutions.”
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Indiana joins 19 other states in issuing some sort of ban on using the app on state-owned and government-issued devices.
A federal ban was also included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill signed into law by President Joe Biden on Thursday. The president has until February 2023 to implement the rules that will ban the social media app from devices managed by the federal government.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.