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SD Gov. Kristi Noem bans TikTok on state devices over Chinese Communist Party spying allegations

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem visits the troops during the 2019 Golden Coyote Exercise at Rapid City, S.D., June 14, 2019. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Jamaal Turner)
November 29, 2022

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a new Executive Order on Tuesday banning the Chinese social media platform TikTok from state devices used by state government agencies, employees, and contractors.

Noem tweeted about the order, writing that “South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Noem’s Executive Order comes one day after she announced plans to “thwart [Chinese Communist Party] expansion” by restricting China’s ability to purchase American farmland.

“Food security is national security. We cannot allow China to continue in their quest of buying up American farmland,” Noem tweeted. “In South Dakota, we have implemented restrictions on foreign land ownership, and as Governor, I am looking into how we can further thwart CCP expansion.”

Noem’s decision to ban TikTok also comes after a recent Forbes investigation revealed child sexual abuse material is shared among TikTok users on private accounts that evade the service’s moderation features and reappear almost as soon as they are deleted

TikTok content creator Seara Adair, a child sexual abuse survivor, drew attention to the phenomenon earlier this year. Forbes reported that she informed the Department of Homeland Security, which did not tell the outlet whether they were investigating, and Adair has been contacted by an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas, who did not comment to Forbes.

DHS Special Agent Waylon Hinkle told Adair “we are working on it” in an email on March 31, according to Forbes.

Prior to the Forbes report, an FCC commissioner said TikTok should be banned completely in the United States because its China-based owner, ByteDance, can’t be trusted under any circumstances not to leak user data to the Chinese Communist Party.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.