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SD public universities remove TikTok accounts in response to ban

TikTok logo
Governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order banning the app from state owned devices.

All public South Dakota universities appear to have removed their TikTok accounts in response to ban ordered by Gov. Kristi Noem.

Last month, Noem issued an order prohibiting the app on state-owned devices, citing its ties to China.

TikTok is a social media network owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Users submit video content that can be viewed by anyone on the app or website.

State universities used the app to promote their schools and recruit prospective students. The University of South Dakota had the largest TikTok following among the state's public universities with more than 20,000 followers.

In the immediate aftermath of the ban, it was unclear whether universities would have to delete their accounts. A Board of Regents meeting earlier this month cleared the confusion and affirmed that universities would follow the governor's order.

Some official state university TikTok accounts lingered on the platform in the days following the board's decision. All those accounts appeared to have been deactivated by Dec. 19.

SDPB reached out to each state university for comment on the removal of their TikTok accounts. Only Black Hills State University responded, saying they are following the governor's executive order.

"Cybersecurity is critical to the operation of BHSU and the success of all of South Dakota’s public universities. We will undoubtedly find new ways to showcase our campus and recruit students," the statement said.

The South Dakota Department of Tourism removed its account immediately following the ban. The agency used the app to attract followers to visit the state. Their account had more than 60,000 followers.

Marissa Brunkhorst is a junior at the University of South Dakota. She is from Hutchinson, Minnesota and is based out of the Vermillion studio.
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