TikTok Ban Taking Place At Colleges Nationwide?

By Brian Scheid | Published


On the last day of November this year, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem signed a state executive order banning all state agencies and contractors from accessing TikTok from state-owned devices. At the time it was the first state to put legislation on the books prohibiting their state-owned computing devices from accessing a particular app. While delivering her statement about the ban that day, she asserted that she hoped other states and congress would follow South Dakota’s lead on this issue and that is exactly what happened over the last month with multiple state governors and senators jumping on board with their legislation.

According to CNN Business, “More than a dozen states, including Maryland, South Dakota, and Texas, have announced bans in recent weeks of TikTok for state employees on government-issued devices.” At the time of Governor Noem’s announcement, it may not have dawned on you that public universities are financed by the state they reside in. This means that all the computer equipment and devices on state campuses are in fact owned by the state and therefore, are subjected to these bans.

The University of Oklahoma addressed the TikTok ban with its employees and students via email this week. They were informed that due to Oklahoma executive order 2022-33 which is effective immediately that no university employee or student shall access the TikTok application or website on university-owned or operated devices which include OU wired and wireless networks. If you live on campus or are just on campus for classes and you are a TikTok user, you will want to turn off your phone’s Wi-Fi and use your data plan. That way you don’t accidentally use the app on the University network which would put you in direct violation of a state’s executive order.

It’s not just the Sooners of Oklahoma, Auburn also informed their employees and student body that they will be restricting access to comply with the governor of Alabama’s executive order. As well as all 26 universities and colleges in the state of Georgia have indicated that they will be taking similar steps. CNN Business reported a statement by Jamal Brown a spokesman for TikTok said, “We’re disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok,”

The major concern is what’s the government expecting to accomplish by instilling this ban on the citizens of their states. How does this legislation further protect our citizens and our personal information from being farmed by the Chinese? It is still perfectly legal to utilize your personal devices to access the application without any threat of incarceration or a fine.

Brown further details that about TikTok’s concerns, “We’re especially sorry to see the unintended consequences of these rushed policies beginning to impact universities’ ability to share information, recruit students, and build communities around athletic teams, student groups, campus publications, and more,” I tend to agree with their sentiments on this issue because there is nothing more than some scarce hearsay evidence that TikTok is doing anything unethical or illegal in accordance with US privacy laws. They proactively have set up the protocols to keep American information secured using United States securities companies to house and track all that data.

The ball is officially rolling on this topic, and it is no longer one United States Governor pushing an agenda of fear to the citizens of her state. The conversation and debate over the next few months will determine which direction this ultimately lands. What we do know for sure is that about 25% of the nation’s states leaders are already on board and volume will continue to grow until this debate gets resolved.