Some universities are restricting access to TikTok on campus | CNN Business
A small but growing number of universities are blocking access to TikTok on school-owned devices or WiFi networks, in the latest sign of a growing crackdown on the popular short-form video app.
The University of Oklahoma and Auburn University in Alabama have said they will restrict student and faculty access to TikTok, in order to comply with recent moves by their respective state governors to ban TikTok on government-issued devices. All 26 universities and colleges in the University System of Georgia are also taking a similar step.
“Pursuant to Governor’s Executive Order 2022-33, effective immediately, no university employee or student will be able to access the TikTok app or website on university-owned or operated devices, including networks OU wired and wireless,” the University of Oklahoma said in an email this week.
According to the email, the school will also require that university-administered TikTok accounts be removed and that “alternative social media platforms be used in their place.”
More than a dozen states, including Maryland, South Dakota and Texas, have announced TikTok bans for state employees on government-issued devices in recent weeks. The bans come as a growing number of lawmakers continue to scrutinize TikTok over potential national security concerns because of its ties to China through its parent company, ByteDance.
Criticism mounted earlier this year after a Buzzfeed News report said some US user data has been repeatedly accessed from China and quoted an employee who allegedly said: “Everything is seen in China”. TikTok, for its part, has confirmed that some employees in China can access the data of US users.
“We are 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,” TikTok spokesman Jamal Brown said in a statement. provided to CNN on Thursday.
“We are especially sorry to see the unintended consequences of these hasty policies begin to affect universities’ ability to share information, recruit students, and build communities around sports teams, student groups, campus publications, and more.” , Brown added.
Alabama’s Auburn University began restricting access to TikTok on school devices or Wi-Fi networks last week, in accordance with Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s recent executive order that networks and devices state-owned block access to it from TikTok’s social networks. application
But an Auburn University spokesperson told CNN the decision “is not a campus ban.” TikTok users will still be able to access the app on personal devices using their own mobile data.
Last week, a trio of lawmakers led by Republican Senator Marco Rubio introduced a bill that seeks to ban TikTok from operating in the United States. In a statement announcing the proposed legislation, Rubio accused TikTok of collecting data to “manipulate feeds” and blasted the app as a “CCP.” [Chinese Communist Party]-puppet company”.
TikTok has been negotiating with the US government for years over a possible deal that would address national security concerns and allow the app to continue serving US customers. It has also taken steps to isolate US user data from other parts of its business.
In addition, TikTok faces scrutiny for its powerful algorithm that can lead users, and especially its younger users, down rabbit holes, including directing them to potentially harmful topics such as content about suicide and eating disorders.
TikTok has made a series of announcements in recent years in an effort to ease concerns, including publishing tools to help users customize content recommendations, implementing parental controls to give users more options to restrict what their children can see in the application and promise more. transparency related to its content moderation systems for researchers.