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How will a TikTok ban impact SD agencies?

KCAU 9 News
KCAU 9 News
 2022-12-01

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In its 2021 annual report, the South Dakota Department of Tourism highlighted the launch of a South Dakota TikTok channel.

The 2021 report says the department launched the TikTok channel to provide “another avenue for the team to reach its audiences with engaging and inspiring video content. Results in the channel’s first five months were impressive.”

The account gained more than 11,000 followers on TikTok and had more than 553,000 total views, according to the 2021 report .

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South Dakota Department of Tourism 2021 annual report.

On Tuesday, following Gov. Kristi Noem’s executive order banning use of the app for state government agencies, employees, and contractors on state devices, the Department of Tourism deleted its account which had more than 60,000 followers.

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“We have removed our TikTok account pursuant to the Governor’s executive order and stopped all TikTok advertising. There was no additional impact,” Katyln Svendsen said in an emailed statement to KELOLAND News.

Svendsen is the Global Media & Public Relations Director for the South Dakota Department of Tourism. She said the Department of Tourism is still active on other social media platforms that can reach the same audience.

“We have an endless supply of other safe tools and productive resources to reach consumers to tell South Dakota’s story,” Svendsen said.

Noem bans state agencies, employees from using TikTok

Noem’s executive order cites many government entities, including the U.S. Military and the Transportation Security Administration, that have banned TikTok on government-issued devices.

“The Chinese Communist Party uses information that it gathers on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data off the devices that access the platform,” Noem said in a statement announcing the ban.

On Twitter, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Brendan Carr praised Noem’s decision.

“Smart and strong step by Governor @KristiNoem to protect the safety and private data of South Dakota citizens,” Carr tweeted .

How will South Dakota universities be impacted?

TikTok channels are popular on college campuses, including public universities under the South Dakota Board of Regents. Unlike the Department of Tourism, which has deleted its TikTok account, South Dakota university accounts remain.

The University of South Dakota TikTok has more than 24,000 followers, while South Dakota State University’s TikTok has more than 9,000 followers.  There are also TikTok pages from sports teams for USD and SDSU.

Shuree Mortenson, the Director of Communications with the Board of Regents, told KELOLAND News the board is working through the implications for campuses from the executive order.

“Cybersecurity is of critical importance and requires continuous assessment and response to potential vulnerabilities, such as TikTok,” Mortenson said in an emailed statement. “The Board is scheduled to convene next week for their December meeting and will undoubtedly address this topic at that time.”

The South Dakota State Fair is also on TikTok. That account has 2,000 followers.

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