Mississippi will ban TikTok, a popular social media platform that the private Chinese company ByteDance owns, on state-issued devices and state Wi-Fi networks starting July 1.
Mississippi is one of 44 states that have applied some kind of restrictions on TikTok access, Bloomberg Law reported in March. President Joe Biden signed a bill into law banning TikTok and other ByteDance-owned apps from most government-issued devices in December 2022.
Gov. Tate Reeves signed Mississippi Senate Bill 2140 into law over fears the Chinese government could steal personal data from U.S. residents.
“It’s no secret that the Chinese Communist Party is actively trying to steal U.S. intellectual property and Americans’ personal information,” he said in a Jan. 11 press release. “Mississippi isn’t going to sit around waiting for the Chinese Communist Party to steal our state government data.”
The Washington Post collaborated with a privacy researcher in 2020 to investigate the app. They found that TikTok “doesn’t appear to grab any more personal information than” other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
The app also receives information from outside sources, such as a person’s profile information from other social media platforms if they logged into TikTok using their Google email, Facebook account or another third-party service.
Advertisers provide information to TikTok by collecting data about how a person engages on the advertiser’s websites or account so the social media platform can “match you and your actions outside the Platform with your TikTok account.”
S.B. 2140 does not specifically name TikTok, but says the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services will “restrict the download, access or use of prohibited technologies on state-operated networks” and provide a list on its website of the banned online activities. The MDITS has not posted details of these bans as of press time.
On Jan. 11, months before he signed the bill into law, Gov. Reeves sent a letter to Mississippi state department and agency leaders that directed them to delete TikTok from state-issued devices by Jan. 31.
Many of the state’s universities have already banned TikTok from school devices and Wi-Fi, including the University of Mississippi and Jackson State University. Mississippi State University announced Wednesday that it is complying with the law and will ban TikTok on its devices and Wi-Fi networks on July 1.