Maine state employees are being ordered to remove social media app TikTok from all state-owned devices and those regularly connected to state networks.
Maine Chief Information Officer Fred Brittain informed executive branch employees of the decision in a Thursday afternoon email. He is asking that the app be removed from state devices as well as personal devices that connect to the state network no later than Feb. 1.
The decision came as a result of a Maine information technology review in response to the federal government banning it from its devices with some exceptions last month. TikTok is controlled by Chinese tech giant ByteDance and has prompted controversy for data tracking and resulting national security implications.
The app is in widespread use among younger Americans, with an estimated 80 million U.S. users. About 62 percent of users are under age 30, according to estimates from the advertising firm Wallaroo Media.
Maine joins 25 other states that have banned or restricted the use of TikTok on state devices, Insider reported. The latest ones include North Carolina and Wisconsin. Those moves have prompted public universities and colleges to tell students to log off campus networks to use it.
The move from the administration of Gov. Janet Mills does not affect public universities and colleges in Maine, which would have to enact their own bans. The Legislature may tackle the issue in 2023, with Rep. Nathan Carlow, R-Buxton, sponsoring a measure that would ban the app from all state-owned devices.
BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.