New York: New York City on Wednesday banned TikTok on government-owned devices citing ‘security concerns’ thus joining the list of more than two dozen states that have restricted access to the short video app, the New York Times reported.
Notably, several government officials have been restricting access to TikTok in reaction to concerns that the app — owned by the Chinese company ByteDance — could give Beijing access to sensitive user data.
Jonah Allon, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Adams, said in a statement on Wednesday that the city’s Cyber Command is determined that the app “posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks.”
City agencies must remove the app within 30 days and employees will lose access to TikTok and its website from city-owned devices and networks, NYT reported.
New York State has banned TikTok on state-issued mobile devices for more than three years, with some exceptions.
The TikTok accounts of Adams, the city’s Department of Sanitation and the Department of Parks and Recreation all updated their bios with this message: “This account was operated by NYC until August 2023. It’s no longer monitored”, NYT reported.
Meanwhile, the bans have largely been restricted to official devices, though Montana recently passed a bill barring TikTok across the state. That rule, which is set to take effect on January 1, is being challenged by TikTok on several grounds, including accusations that it violates the First Amendment.
TikTok declined to comment on the ban, which was earlier reported by The Verge, NYT reported.
The city’s Department of Sanitation has become an unexpected TikTok darling, amassing nearly 50,000 followers with videos highlighting its workers and memes tied to new trash-collection times. New York magazine’s Curbed site praised the account last year, saying that the department “comes across in its TikToks as a bunch of genuine, hardworking salt-of-the-earth folks.”
The account got another boost last year when a declaration from Jessica Tisch, the city’s sanitation commissioner, went viral on TikTok: “The rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement. But the rats don’t run this city, we do.”
While some TikTok viewers may grieve the loss of such accounts, they can still watch Empire State-related fare on @NYGov, the official TikTok account for New York State, which recently riffed off the recent “girl dinner” trend with a video extolling a “New York State girl dinner” of pizza, Hudson Valley cheese, Tate’s cookies and bagels, according to New York Times.