Cleveland councilman urges Mayor Bibb to ban TikTok on city-issued devices

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 10:16 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek has introduced legislation urging Mayor Justin Bibb and his administration to ban TikTok on city-issued devices, which would fall into line with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s statewide ban.

“Clearly TikTok is a tool of the Chinese Communist government. They’re trolling personal information, they’re providing misinformation,” Polensek told 19 News. “This is a tool of oppression. This is a tool of division.”

The new legislation would prohibit any city employee from installing or using TikTok on their city-issued cell phone, computer or any other electronic device. It would not prohibit them from using their own personal devices to use the social media app.

In a previous statement to CBS News, TikTok said “the concerns driving these bans are largely fueled by misinformation about our company.”

The FBI has expressed its own concerns, suggesting the Chinese government is able to control the platform to influence users.

“They also have the ability to collect data, which can be used for traditional espionage operations,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

When reached by email, city spokesperson Sarah Johnson did not indicate whether or not the mayor would consider the proposed ban. She told 19 News that city employees are not currently able to install their own social media apps; the city’s IT department handles social media installation on city-issued devices.

According to Johnson, records show only one city-issued device currently has TikTok installed; she confirmed it does not belong to either the mayor or a city official.

While Johnson could not confirm who the device belongs to, it is not uncommon for police departments to use social media platforms to help investigate crimes.