By Ron Jokelainen
Citing security concerns, the City of Sault Ste. Marie will cease to use Tik Tok on any its devices.
The Ontario government banned TikTok March 9. The federal government had banned the social media platform in February.
The measures were in response to a Canadian Centre for Cyber Security report which pointed to TT’s data collection as a security threat.
An amendment to the proposed local ban, which would’ve allowed exemptions for certain staff, was defeated 8-3.
“I am not against the banning of Tik Tok on most City devices, what I am asking for here is that we have dedicated devices to our our communications team and potentially our tourism team to safely promote Sault Ste. Marie,” said Ward 3 Councillor Angela
Caputo, who along with Ward 1 councillor Sandra Hollingsworth, authored the amendment.
Caputo pointed to TikTok’s world-wide popularity, with roughly 1.5 billion users. She also credited Tik Tok with boosting her campaign in the last election.
“It’s arguably the largest social media platform going right now. We’re talking about 20 per cent of the entire world population is on Tik Tok, she said. “I think the reward outweighs the risk, if we do this properly.” Information Technology manager Frank Coccimiglio said he approached staff about 18 months ago suggesting Tik Tok was
something the city “should hop on” but added while it continues to grow in popularity, in the interim it became clear there are issues with the platform’s data harvesting.
“One thing people need to know is that all of those 1.5 billion users have to sign a license agreement, and Tik Tok’s stance on data harvesting is pretty awful,” stated Coccimiglio.
“It’s kind of egregious, even compared to Facebook and Twitter. Under that license agreement…you have to allow Tik Tok to track your personal data including passwords, dates of birth, email addresses, contact lists and activity across other apps, even
though they have nothing to do with Tik Tok,” Chief Administrative Officer Malcom White, says a platform such as Tik Tok creates a greater demand than a simple website.
“We have to be able to staff up” to manage it,” said White.
“We’re constrained by resources right now,” continued White, adding the city is not closing the door on Tik Tok, and will monitor how the platform evolves