Florida government program paid for TikTok ads as DeSantis pushes for ban

Ron DeSantis
FILE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis complains about the FDA’s decision to revoke its emergency authorization for two COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments during a press conference on Jan. 26, 2022, in North Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File) Marta Lavandier/AP

Florida government program paid for TikTok ads as DeSantis pushes for ban

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A program backed by the Florida government paid for an advertising campaign on TikTok, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) calling for the app to be banned.

Florida Prepaid, a state program that promotes saving money for college, used the social media platform for an advertising campaign in recent months, running two advertisements in the app’s “For You” tab, according to Orlando television station WFTV.

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A spokesperson for Florida Prepaid confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the advertisement campaign, saying it spent $30,516 to promote the open enrollment period through a pilot program that went from Feb. 25 until April 10.

“The Florida Prepaid College Board is committed to making families aware of the importance of saving early for college. We spent $30,516 in advertising on TikTok during this Florida Prepaid College Plan Open Enrollment period, from Feb. 25–April 10, when the activation concluded. The pilot campaign has ended,” a spokesperson for Florida Prepaid told the Washington Examiner.

“Since 1988, the Florida Prepaid College Board has helped more than 1.2 million families save for higher education, and more than 612,000 students have attended college using Prepaid Plans,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson also said prepaid sales plans were up 7% year over year.

DeSantis has previously pushed a proposal to ban “TikTok and other social media platforms with ties to China” from being used on state government devices and prohibiting the platform from being used on the internet at state colleges, universities, and public schools in the state.

Several universities across the Sunshine State, including the University of South Florida and the University of Florida, have announced bans on apps such as TikTok from their campuses after a state education panel approved an emergency regulation to ban the use of the app on state universities and colleges.

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The board of Florida Prepaid is made up of several high-ranking Florida officials, along with three people who are nominated by the governor. Of the three governor-appointed board members, only one of them, Slater Bayliss, was appointed by DeSantis, with the other two being appointed by then-Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL).

The Washington Examiner reached out to DeSantis’s office for comment.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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