Local police agencies find success on TikTok, amid state bans

Utah is the latest state to ban its state agencies from using the divisive app TikTok, but a local police agency claims to have found success reaching out to the community through the platform.

The Salt Lake Police Department began using TikTok at the beginning of this month. The channel only has six videos up, but they’ve already amassed thousands of views each. Nearly two million people have watched one of them.

That, according to Salt Lake City Police Department spokesman Brent Weisberg, “shows that there is interest in seeing what life is like behind the doors of the Salt Lake City Police Department.”

“The relationship between our police department and the citizens we serve is our top priority,” he said.

Weisberg stated that the agency made the decision to join the platform after hearing about the success other law enforcement agencies across the country were having using the app, particularly in their efforts to connect with younger audiences.

“The question of how to communicate with this specific demographic needs to be resolved. To that end, TikTok has been a useful tool “A statement he made.

However, the director of the FBI has issued a warning about the risks associated with using the app, and a growing number of states have issued bans on the service in recent months.

Governor Spencer Cox issued an executive order prohibiting the use of TikTok on all state-owned devices, citing “national security concerns.” The order made reference to China’s monopoly over businesses headquartered in China, such as ByteDance, the owner of TikTok.

The governor made a point of mentioning the FBI’s warning that the Chinese government might be able to manipulate the app’s algorithm and gain access to the data TikTok collects.

John Gleason, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation, said that they immediately shut down their account after receiving the directive.

Since joining TikTok in February, the agency has enjoyed what many would consider a fruitful run. The app’s 120,000 users outnumber their combined followings on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

It Was Great Fun, But It’s Just One Of Several Ways We Keep In Touch, As Gleason Put It

“We really want to reach people in ways that resonate with them,” the authors write. “We want people to have the information they need so they can make plans before hitting the road.”

Gleason stated that they agreed with the governor’s order and would work to spread their message through other channels, such as their other social media accounts.

It Was Great Fun, But It's Just One Of Several Ways We Keep In Touch, As Gleason Put It

Weisberg said, “We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect our infrastructure here at the Salt Lake City Police Department.” The department is aware of the problems associated with TikTok.

“When it comes to potential dangers to safety, we’re keeping an eye on things. One of the things we do every day as a police force is to investigate crimes “This is what he had to say,

He promised that the app would be used to build relationships with the community they serve and even to attract new employees to the department.

Additionally, both the Orem and American Fork police departments maintain active TikTok accounts, with a number of videos boasting millions of views.

Related:

Weisberg has stated that “if TikTok disappears, we will still find a way to communicate with the community members.” Last but not least, “we want to make sure we’re communicating with our community members.”

The governor’s directive only covers agencies under his direct control; it does not affect the legislative or judicial branches. Consequently, universities, the state attorney general’s office, and local governments are exempt from the regulation.

United States Government, TikTok’s Chinese Owner Is Under Increasing Pressure To Sell

Pressure on the Chinese owner of the popular short-video app TikTok to sell it was increased on Friday when President Trump said he would sign an executive order as soon as Saturday to ban TikTok in the United States.

United States Government, TikTok's Chinese Owner Is Under Increasing Pressure To Sell

The move would be the logical conclusion of US national security concerns regarding the privacy of user information stored by TikTok. Beijing-based ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, would suffer a significant setback if this happened. ByteDance is one of only a handful of truly global Chinese conglomerates thanks to the app’s commercial success.

Friday’s frantic negotiations between the White House, ByteDance, and potential buyers of TikTok, including Microsoft Corp., led to Trump’s announcement. A deal that would have seen the Chinese company divest itself of the app’s U.S. operations reportedly did not materialize between the two parties. It’s anticipated that negotiations will continue over the next few days.

Unlike Facebook Inc., Microsoft would face fewer regulatory hurdles in acquiring TikTok, one of the sources said because it already owns the professional social network LinkedIn.

Deal talks were reportedly complicated by ByteDance’s demand for a minority stake in TikTok and its expected valuation of the app at more than $50 billion.

Related:

A Long Wait For Federal Action

Concerns have been raised on both sides of the aisle in the United States about the possibility that TikTok or its parent company, ByteDance, could be forced by China’s national security laws to hand over the personal data of its users in the United States. Experts in the field of security have expressed concern that China could use the information to gain intelligence or influence US users through disinformation campaigns.

A Long Wait For Federal Action

TikTok has stated that it is collaborating with the US government to address any and all legitimate national security concerns. Separately, it has instituted measures to ensure that data from its American customers is kept completely separate from that of its international operations.

In response to the backlash in the United States, the company announced last week that it would centralize the departments responsible for US-specific content moderation, policy, and legal matters under a new department called US Data Security. This department would be headed by employees based in the United States and would operate independently from the company’s other departments.

To comply with the requirements of any deal approved by CFIUS, the company has announced that its US Data Security group will now be responsible for “reviewing and approving” global content policies before they can be implemented for US audiences. TikTok has announced that its global trust and safety team will not be responsible for content moderation related to US user data, but rather its dedicated US trust and safety team located within its US Digital Security group.

Conclusion

Broadman believes that states led by Republican officials have taken advantage of the situation because CFIUS and TikTok have not yet reached an agreement.

I don’t think it reflects greater Republican suspicion of Democrats, he said. My impression is that this is more of a tactical issue.

Low-hanging fruit would be to forbid the app’s use by public employees since governments have unambiguous authority to manage their own devices as they see fit (and easy headlines), As Broadman put it.

Those states that have implemented their own restrictions on TikTok are, in a sense, mimicking the federal government’s stance. Many government agencies in the United States have already banned TikTok for their employees, including the Defense Department, the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Author

  • Karan Sirari

    I am an author and a public speaker. I was born in India and have travelled to many different countries. I have a masters in public communication from California University and I love to write about famous peoples from different industries.

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