New York City on Wednesday joined a wave of states and federal agencies in banning TikTok from government-owned devices based on security concerns, snuffing out some popular city-run TikTok accounts in the process.
Jonah Allon, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Adams, said in a statement that the city’s Cyber Command determined that the app “posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks.” City agencies must remove the app within 30 days and employees will lose access to TikTok and its website from city-owned devices and networks.
The TikTok accounts of Mr. Adams, the city’s Department of Sanitation and the Department of Parks and Recreation all updated their bios with this message: “This account was operated by NYC until August 2023. It’s no longer monitored.”
Numerous government officials have been restricting access to TikTok in reaction to concerns that the app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, could give Beijing access to sensitive user data. New York State has banned TikTok on state-issued mobile devices for more than three years, with some exceptions.
The bans have largely been restricted to official devices, though Montana recently passed a bill barring TikTok across the state. That rule, which is set to take effect on Jan. 1, is being challenged by TikTok on several grounds, including accusations that it violates the First Amendment.
TikTok declined to comment on the ban, which was earlier reported by The Verge.
The city’s Department of Sanitation has become an unexpected TikTok darling, amassing nearly 50,000 followers with videos highlighting its workers and memes tied to new trash-collection times. New York magazine’s Curbed site praised the account last year, saying that the department “comes across in its TikToks as a bunch of genuine, hardworking salt-of-the-earth folks.” The account got another boost last year when a declaration from Jessica Tisch, the city’s sanitation commissioner, went viral on TikTok: “The rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement. But the rats don’t run this city, we do.”
While some TikTok viewers may grieve the loss of such accounts, they can still watch Empire State-related fare on @NYGov, the official TikTok account for New York State, which recently riffed off the recent “girl dinner” trend with a video extolling a “New York State girl dinner” of pizza, Hudson Valley cheese, Tate’s cookies and bagels.
Michael Gold contributed reporting.