Head of state universities orders compliance with Noem’s TikTok ban
The South Dakota Board of Regents prepares to meet on Dec. 8, 2022, at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/SD Searchlight)
The executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents says the state’s higher education system will obey a new TikTok ban on state devices, and state universities will delete the various TikTok accounts they currently operate.
Regents Executive Director Brian Maher made the announcement Thursday during a regularly scheduled Board of Regents meeting at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City.
“The Board of Regents supports Governor Noem’s ban,” Maher said.
Gov. Kristi Noem announced the ban Nov. 29 in an executive order prohibiting the use of the TikTok social media app or website on state devices. She cited security concerns about Chinese government influence over the Chinese company that owns TikTok, while some observers said the move is part of Noem’s broader effort to position herself as a national political figure.
The announcement from Maher ends speculation about how state universities – some of which have multiple TikTok accounts for marketing and recruitment – would respond to the ban.
There had been discussion about the use of personal devices to manage official university accounts, as the executive order only pertains to state-owned devices. South Dakota State University spokesman Mike Lockrem told South Dakota Searchlight recently that the school’s TikTok accounts were typically run by social media managers using their own devices.
Maher’s statement at Thursday’s meeting appeared to leave no wiggle room for that.
“Our universities are not to use TikTok for university marketing and communication,” Maher said.
Meanwhile, another state entity – the Department of Tourism – immediately deleted its TikTok account when Noem issued her order. That account had 61,200 followers and 1.7 million likes.
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