BELL COUNTY, TX (FOX 44) — Right now Tiktok is banned from all state-issued electronic devices thanks to an order by Governor Greg Abbott.
FOX 44 decided to question if local governments are following his lead.
We contacted Bell County’s IT department Wednesday afternoon to find they don’t have a policy right now banning Tiktok, but it is in discussion.
Caryn Brown, owner of Digital Media Butterfly says social media apps like Tiktok can track data and potentially be used by outside agencies.
“In the U.S. they’re still owned by a Chinese company,” said Brown. “There are some security concerns there with the Chinese company having access to the data that you share on Tiktok and having access to your phones.”
Brown says Tiktok can access and track your location .
“You’re on social media. You’re playing in someone else’s playground, so they get to set the rules,” said Brown. “Politicians right now are unsure and uncomfortable with some of the rules that TikTok has set, and so they want to safeguard the privacy of those devices.
There’s even the possibility to access confidential information.
“That information, that technology is out there,” said Brown. “I’m not a coder, and I’m not getting into the code of any of these apps to know specifically what they can get into, but the technology is there, so if they wanted to, yes.”
For government devices we reached out to both the cities of Killeen and Temple for a statement.
Temple says it prohibits the use of Tiktok on city-issued devices due to privacy of employee and citizen data.
The city says it is important that as a governing body, Temple complies with the regulatory requirements to protect sensitive data.
Killeen says for security reasons it had already banned Tiktok on city-issued phones before Governor Abbott’s order.
“Government devices are being used to fulfill your job as a government official, and you would have access to more information and more confidential information than an average consumer would so you need to safeguard that data,” said Brown.
Under Governor Abbott’s order for state agencies, each department has until mid February to implement its own Tiktok ban policy.