State Rep. Donni Steele today unveiled legislation to prohibit the widely used video app TikTok from being installed on state government-issued devices such as cell phones.
“TikTok represents a clear and present danger to our government’s security and vital interests,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “I’m proud to sponsor proactive measures such as this legislation to ensure our state is protected against foreign influences.”
ByteDance, the Chinese company that created TikTok, reportedly employs members of the Chinese Communist Party. By law, all Chinese companies are required to do whatever the Chinese government asks when it comes to sharing information or serving as a tool for the Communist Party, according to the FBI.
As part of its policy, TikTok also demands access to people’s phone number, email address, contact lists, and even their location and keystroke patterns.
“TikTok is a state and national security threat that should be banned on all government devices across our country, not just in Michigan,” Steele said. “Michigan residents, and especially young people, should also be aware of the inherent privacy concerns regarding the use of TikTok.”
House Bill 4041 will be formally introduced by Rep. Steele early next week. Republicans and Democrats in other states have expressed concerns about TikTok and are advancing legislation to ban the use of the app on government-issued devices.
“We live in a time where our freedom of speech is being questioned all too often,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “This contest gives our students the opportunity to explore their first amendment right and communicate how essential that liberty is to them. To me, nothing is more important than our freedom of expression. Our ability to partake in civil discourse is the absolute bedrock of our nation.”
“All people have a moral obligation to speak out against hate whenever it rears its ugly head – this is one of those times. As elected officials, we are the voice for our communities. We are held to a higher standard and must answer to all comments we make, including any and all social media posts.”
“In a time when political divides keep deepening, the House needs something for everyone to agree on; I’m confident this school safety legislation is that something,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “This week, we’re remembering a tragedy at Michigan State University. Being from Lake Orion, I can’t help but draw the connection to our neighboring sister community of Oxford and the terrifying events which occurred there over two years ago. The best was to prevent these horrific events from repeating themselves is to bind together and pass school safety bills. Our kids and communities depend on it.”