These Colleges Just Banned TikTok
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- Several governors have issued orders to ban TikTok from government networks and devices.
- The bans address some politicians' concerns that ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, is sending information to the Chinese government.
- If a state governor bans TikTok from government devices, colleges and universities in that state don't have to restrict it from their internet access.
College students returning to their schools from winter break may have to find a new way to get their TikTok fix.
The University of Texas at Austin is the latest big public university to ban the social media app TikTok from university devices and Wi-Fi networks.
On January 17, the UT Austin technology strategy advisor sent an email to students saying that students will be unable to access TikTok on wired and wireless campus networks.
The letter said that UT Austin is taking these steps to comply with Texas Governor Greg Abbott's directive against TikTok.
"As outlined in the governor's directive, TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users' devices - including when, where and how they conduct internet activity - and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government."
Colleges That Have Blocked TikTok From Internet Access
Last Updated: January 31, 2023 at 9:46 A.M. EST
- Auburn University
- Arkansas State University
- Arkansas Tech University
- Boise State University
- Idaho State University
- Montana University System
- Langston University
- Northwestern Oklahoma State University
- Oklahoma State University
- University of Central Oklahoma
- University of Oklahoma
- Lamar University
- McLennan Community College
- Texas A&M University system
- Texas State Technical College
- Texas State University
- University of Texas at Arlington
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Texas at Dallas
- University of Houston – Downtown
- University of North Texas
- University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
- University of Texas at San Antonio
Oklahoma college students were the first to go without the popular video app. On December 8, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order banning TikTok for all state agencies, employees, and contractors on government networks and devices.
"Maintaining the cybersecurity of state government is necessary to continue to serve and protect Oklahoma citizens and we will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information," Stitt said in a press release.
The University of Oklahoma sent an email to the campus community on Dec. 20, saying that it banned TikTok on all university-owned and operated devices, which includes wired and wireless internet. Langston University, the only historically Black college or university (HBCU) in the state, announced Dec. 22 that it also would immediately ban access to TikTok.
According to Oklahoma News 9, Oklahoma State University, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Northwestern Oklahoma State University have also banned on-campus network access to TikTok.
The moves in Oklahoma are the latest in a national trend to ban TikTok from government-owned devices because the app is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company that some politicians fear is sharing information with the Chinese government.
If a state governor bans TikTok from government devices, colleges and universities in that state don't have to restrict it from their internet access.
For instance, Alabama has banned TikTok from government devices. However, so far, only the state's Auburn University has taken it further to ban the app from its internet access.
According to reporting from NBC News, a spokesperson for Auburn University said, "Note also that the new policy recommends removing TikTok from personal devices to protect a person's privacy there as well. The governor's order addresses the growing risk of intrusive social media applications harvesting data totally unrelated to business use of the platform."
Across the country, the Montana University system is also banning TikTok on wired and wireless networks starting Jan. 20. All university TikTok accounts will also be suspended. According to the directive, campuses may be approved for exceptions to the directive for necessary education and research.
Gov. Greg Gianforte has been pressing the university system board of regents to ban TikTok on campus networks after he instituted a ban on state devices last December.
"Given the risk use of TikTok poses to our public universities and our students, I request the Board of Regents support efforts by the Commissioner of Higher Education to prevent the use of TikTok by the Montana University System (MUS) and its campuses and while connected to the MUS network," said Gianforte in his letter to the board.
Sources: Arkansas State University, THV11, Boise State University, Montana University System, Langston University, University of Oklahoma, Lamar University, The Texas Tribune, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas, Business Insider, KWTX.com, KKTV.com.