ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With Governor Greg Abbott’s recent ban of the social media app TikTok on state devices, Abilene’s city manager has not been allowing the video-sharing app on city devices for much longer, and most recently, he’s made moves towards drafting a formal ban. Meanwhile and independently, the Abilene Zoo is wanting to use the platform to reach a new audience – but is respectfully awaiting the go-ahead.
A few months ago, Abilene’s city manager Robert Hanna told city agencies and departments that TikTok should not be used.
“I didn’t see a need or a compelling public interest to have the City of Abilene on TikTok,” reasoned Hanna.
Taking away TikTok has affected the Abilene Zoo, according to Supervisor of Marketing and Conservation, Clay Carabajal.
“Social media is our number one way of reaching our guests – not just here in the Big Country, but all around the world,” Carabajal explained.
As a marketing professional, Carbajal said social media is the main way that people get tickets for the zoo and its events.
“For instance,” began Carabajal, “during our recent Boo at the Zoo, out of 150 people surveyed, 75% of people learned about and got tickets through social media for our event.”
Although the zoo is able to use other social media platforms, he Carbajal said TikTok is the number one platform right now, meaning it would be the best way to connect with more people and encourage them to visit.
“Recently, I went to a national conference for zoos and aquariums,” Carbajal recalled. “And when everyone said, ‘What platforms do you utilize?’ everyone in the room raised their hand for TikTok except me.”
Although Hanna discouraged using this app because he did not see a need for it, now, there are bigger issues with the platform.
“Now, not only the Governor of Texas, but also the United States government, has indicated there could be some security concerns with TikTok,” warned Hanna.
Hanna told KTAB/KRBC those concerns are what’s prompted him to formally draft a ban.
“What we are working on doing now is drafting an administrative directive that will come from my office that prohibits TikTok being installed on city owned devices,” Hanna detailed.
Carabajal said he is completely respectful of Hanna’s decision and the policy of Abilene, but he is ready to make an animal education TikTok as soon as he gets the okay.
On the opposite side, Hanna said that as long as he’s City Manager, he does not see TikTok being a platform the city will use. Hanna clarified that personal devices can still have TikTok installed. It is only on city devices that it will be prohibited.