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Gianforte asks Regents to Ban Tik Tok


Just over two weeks after banning TikTok from state devices, networks and businesses, Gov. Greg Gianforte now wants the Board of Regents to take similar action for the Montana University System. The ban in Montana falls in line with similar action taken by other state and local governments across the country over security concerns. Last week, President Joe Biden signed a spending bill that also prohibited the use of TikTok on federal devices, with exceptions for those in law enforcement, national security and security research. "Given the risk use of TikTok poses to our public universities and our students, I request the Board of Regents support efforts by the Commissioner of Higher Education to prevent the use of TikTok by the Montana University System and its campuses while connected to the MUS network," Gianforte said in a letter to the Board of Regents. The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education did not immediately return a request for comment. TikTok is a popular social media platform that allows users to share videos that range in duration from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. It is the second most popular online platform among teenagers in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center. Critics of the app largely take issue with its owner, ByteDance Ltd., that "harvests expansive amounts of data from its users' devices," according to Gianforte's office. Additionally, the director of the FBI shared his concerns of China's ability to manipulate the app's algorithm, "which allows them to manipulate content, and if they want to, to use it for influence operations," and that data collection could be used for espionage. "All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn't share our values, and that has a mission that's very much at odds with what's in the best interests of the United States," said Chris Wray, director of the FBI. "That should concern us." Recent reporting by Forbes found that ByteDance employees tracked the physical locations of multiple journalists covering the company. "The ability of the Chinese Communist Party to spy on Americans using TikTok is well documented," Gianforte said. "Using or even downloading TikTok poses a massive security threat." There appear to be TikTok accounts associated with the University of Montana and Montana State University, including profiles for athletics and other clubs at both campuses. ©2023 Missoulian, Mont. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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