COLUMBIA, S.C. (WJZY) – On Monday, Governor Henry McMaster took action to block access to the social media platform TikTok from all state government electronic devices managed by the South Carolina Department of Administration.
McMaster made the request in a letter to the South Carolina Dept. of Administration Executive Director Marcia Adams.
“Protecting our State’s critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and businesses,” Governor McMaster said in a released statement. “Federal law enforcement and national security officials have warned that TikTok poses a clear and present danger to its users, and a growing bi-partisan coalition in Congress is pushing to ban access to TikTok in the United States.”
The Department of Administration, a cabinet agency, utilizes shared services and centralization to help agencies efficiently and securely carry out standard government functions.
Those efforts include but are not limited to, internet services, managing mobile devices, computers, and other online devices at state agencies, with a focus on cybersecurity.
In his letter to Executive Director Adams, the governor is requesting an accounting of agencies not currently utilizing the shared services: “Unfortunately, there are a number of state agencies who continue to operate in a silo. I ask that you provide my office with a listing of state agencies for whom the department is unable to permanently block access to TikTok.”
Sara Levens, an expert in the psychology of social media, says the unknown about what data the platform collects and how that information is utilized could be the reason for the pushback.
“This is principally related to risk,” Levens explained. “To have a foreign government essentially own one of the most popular and increasing social media sites, there is a high risk in that.”