UT-Austin Joins List Of Texas Schools & Government Banning TikTok
We reported to you a month ago that Gov. Greg Abbott directed state agencies to ban the popular app on government-issued devices citing cybersecurity risks.
There has been mounting concern all across the country from government officials about the safety and security of the wildly popular app which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. whom under Chinese law mandates that companies share their data with the Chinese Communist Party upon request.
Gov. Abbott raised concerns that the app could be used by the Chinese government to hack into U.S. information and infrastructure in the U.S.
Despite having an office just miles away from the Governor's Mansion, Governor Abbott told state leaders to immediately ban TikTok on devices including cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktops computers or any other devices connected to the internet. This isn't just a "Texas" thing, more than half of states in the U.S. have banned the use of the social media app on government devices in some capacity in recent months according to CNN.
Due To The Governor's Order, The University Of Texas At Austin Is Now Blocking Its Use on its Wi-Fi and wired networks.
According to the Texas Tribune, in an email sent to students, UT-Austin technology adviser Jeff Neyland wrote:
“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.”
A growing number of universities have banned the app on devices connected to campus networks, including Auburn University in Alabama, the University of Oklahoma and the schools within the University System of Georgia.
Some Of The Same Schools Banning TikTok, Use It As A Promotional Tool.
What's going to be interesting over the next few months is how the same schools that are banning the app are going to continue using it going forward. It didn't take long to find "official" TikTok accounts from UT-Austin promoting campus life, admissions and athletics because college-age students are a key demographic that uses the app.
Representatives for other large public universities in the state including Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and the University of Houston have not revealed if they plan on following UT-Austin's action or the Governor's order.