Texas Universities Are Strictly Enforcing No TikTok Use On Campus Wi-Fi
Students at a Texas university say their schools have more pressing concerns than whether or not they can use TikTok.
by Evie B.
January 25, 2023 at 2:42 am
The University of Texas at Dallas has added its name to the growing list of institutions in Texas that have outlawed using TikTok on-campus Wi-Fi. In December, Gov. Greg Abbott banned TikTok on all state-issued devices.
Gov. Abbott ordered all state agencies to take several other immediate measures regarding the app, citing security and privacy concerns.
The University of North Texas has issued a statement explaining that, per the Governor’s order, TikTok has been removed from all UNT System devices, and access to it has been disabled across all University-owned networks.
“In order to comply with the governor’s directive, we blocked access to TikTok from university-owned networks and removed the application from any UNT System devices,” UNT’s System Chief Communications Officer Laken Rapier said.
“We will be monitoring any further developments and requirements as outlined by the Office of the Governor, Texas Department of Public Safety or the Texas Department of Information Resources to ensure our continued compliance,” the statement read.
According to CBS News, UT Austin implied in an email to students that the app collects a significant amount of data from users’ devices, including when, where and how they use the internet, and provides this vast collection of potentially sensitive data to the Chinese government.
The University of Texas at Dallas and Texas A&M University are among the other Texas universities whose spokespeople have said they are limiting the app’s availability on campus since the initial announcement was made Tuesday morning, as per Texas Border Business.
“[W]e are in the process of putting in place network-based filtering that will block both wireless and wired access to downloading or accessing the app from our campus network, which means students, faculty, staff, and visitors will not be able to use the app when connected to an A&M network,” system spokesperson Laylan Copelin said.
According to Texas college students, the recent statewide TikTok bans on campuses have not bothered them, and they can easily get around them. They’ll use VPNs or their cellular service to access the app.
“The way that I am planning to circumvent the ban is to simply turn my school WiFi off when I want to use the app on campus,” one student explained.
i spoke with Texas college students about the mass TikTok bans by universities in the state last week—they said they were going to easily circumvent the ban by using their own data or VPNs (or they said yes, good riddance)https://t.co/RHKaK6XoQG
— Kieran Press-Reynolds (@kieranpressreyn) January 23, 2023
Even so, TikTok remains one of the most widely used apps worldwide, particularly among young people. Four University of Texas at Austin students, some of whom have thousands of TikTok followers, who spoke with Insider said the ban wouldn’t prevent them from using the platform.
In addition to remaining unbothered about the Wi-Fi blockage of the app, the censorship of TikTok over guns, according to Texas college students, speaks volumes about how officials value public safety.
Students at a university in Texas say their institutions have more pressing concerns than whether or not they can use TikTok.
A student who wishes to remain nameless commented on the TikTok censorship debate, saying that the government seems less concerned with public safety and more concerned with what’s happening on social media apps.
“The censorship of TikTok over guns lets you know how serious the government is about the safety of the younger generation,” the 22-year-old public health student at the University of Texas told Insider.