Gov. Kim Reynolds bans TikTok on state-owned devices

Reynolds joined four other GOP-lead states in prohibiting the app from state-owned devices amid concerns with national security and the app’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party.


Grace Smith

The Iowa State Capitol is seen before the opening of the 2022 Legislative Session in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.

Liam Halawith, Politics Reporter

Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a directive to the Iowa Office of Management to prohibit the downloading of the popular social media platform TikTok on all state-owned devicesTuesday evening. Reynolds also prohibited state agencies from creating their own TikTok accounts. 

Several other Republican-led states have also recenlty banned the app on state-owned devices, including Nebraska, Maryland, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Alabama, and South Carolina. Nebraska banned the app in 2020 while the other states banned the app within the past month. 

Reynolds expressed concerns for the security of user data on the platform and the threat to national security it poses. 

“It is clear that TikTok represents a national security risk to our country and I refuse to subject the citizens of Iowa to that risk,” Reynolds said in a statement Tuesday evening. “They trust us with their personal and confidential information and we will take every step possible to protect it, including from the Chinese government.”

TikTok, owned by Chinese-based ByteDance, has come under scrutiny in recent years for its ties to the Chinese Communist Party. 

Former President Donald Trump told reporters in 2020 while aboard airforce one that he would ban the app by executive order if necessary. Trump did issue an executive order to that effect, which was revoked by President Biden in 2021. 

Two years later Congressional Republicans are taking up Trump’s fight against the platform. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., along with five other GOP senators sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen demanding that the Biden administration take action on the threat TikTok poses to national security. 

“If the Biden Administration focuses solely on data storage and integrity to the exclusion of the critical issue of ByteDance’s ownership, control, and influence of TikTok, serious security risks will remain,” the letter said. 

Buzzfeed News reported in July that U.S. user data from the app was being repeatedly viewed in China, prompting concerns about the security of user data on the social media platform.