Bill Banning Tik-Tok on Government Devices Filed by Orlando - Area State Legislator

Matt O'Hern
Florida State Representative Carolina Amesty (R - Windermere) filed a bill that would ban TikTok on government-owned devices.Photo byNew South Politics

Florida's 2023 State Legislative Session doesn't officially commence until March 7, but newly-elected Florida House Representative Carolina Amesty, (R - Windermere), has already sponsored four bills.

This week, Amesty filed Florida House Bill 563, which would ban users of government-issued cell phones and other devices from downloading the TikTok. If passed the law would apply to devices issued by state, local and regional government agencies, and would apply to any future app releases by TikTok's parent company.


Owned by Chinese-backed parent company ByteDance Limited, TikTok is one of the world's most popular social-media apps, with more than 1.5 billion users across the globe, but has come under scrutiny from federal and state legislators in recent months due to concerns over apparent privacy issues.


Concern over TikTok transcends political parties. In late 2022, similar bans on TikTok were signed into law in North Carolina by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, and Mississippi, by Republican Governor Tate Reeves. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, has warned about TikTok's security flaws and issues regarding potential national defense intelligence leaks due to TikTok use by recruiters in the U.S. military. Last year, Congress passed the ‘’No TikTok on Government Devices Act,” which was co-sponsored Rubio and signed by President Joe Biden in December.

Last March, Florida's Attorney General Ashley Moody joined a bipartisan coalition of 43 attorneys general who sent a letter to TikTok urging the company to give parents the ability to monitor a child’s social media usage to protect children from online threats using parental control applications and features.

Former President Donald Trump's Executive Order (E.O. 13942) noted that the app “captures vast swaths of information from its users, including… location data and browsing and search histories.” TikTok’s data-collection practices threatened to “allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”

On June 9, 2021, President Joe Biden revoked E.O. 13942 and ordered security reviews of TikTok and similar apps developed in adversary countries. The next month, the Biden Administration petitioned to dismiss ongoing federal litigation against ByteDance. President Biden did not, however, revoke the August 14 Presidential Order requiring ByteDance to divest its American assets, property, and data.

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Matt O’Hern’s journalism experience includes political news reporting for various organizations and news publications in Florida since 2005. O’Hern graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, AL with a degree in journalism.

Orlando, FL

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