Universities Are Officially Banning TikTok; Students Are Outraged

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Auburn University officially joined the anti-TikTok bandwagon. The move is considered to be a part of a larger effort on behalf of US government organizations to protect citizens from data breaches. But while Auburn’s intentions are good, many students are not happy with the new rule.

Some Auburn University Students Are Circumventing New TikTok Ban by Using Data Instead of Wi-Fi

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey implemented a state-wide TikTok ban from government devices and networks in December 2022. It was the ninth state to do so. The move followed the introduction of a bipartisan federal legislative bill that would ban the social media app, and any other app coming from a “country of concern,” in the United States.

Shortly after Alabama banned TikTok from government devices, Auburn University necessarily had to follow suit. It receives public funding.

“Me and my friends have been talking about it ever since we first found out,” Auburn University student Elizabeth Hunt told the New York Times. “I am a little annoyed that now anytime I want to get on the app, I’m going to have to use data and find ways around it.” The University is still allowing students to access TikTok from their own personal devices, as long as they don’t use school emails or internet.

Other Auburn University Student Organizations Are Just Switching to Instagram Reels

Another student who runs the student-run station, Eagle Eye TV, said that they were going to switch to Instagram Reels instead. “We could use cellular data and post on it or have someone post from their apartment,” she told the Times. “But at the end of the day I think it’s too much work than it’s worth.”

A former sorority sister said a TikTok ban would be a “huge hit” to the way Greek life promoted itself on campus. She specifically mentioned how her sorority would share new dances on TikTok on a regular basis.

TikTok’s Chinese Parent Company ByteDance Has Stolen Data to Spy on US Citizens, Track Location

TikTok is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. Forbes reported that they reviewed evidence showing that ByteDance intended to collect personal data on Americans. Further, they intended to use it to locate specific people’s physical locations.

That’s a little creepy.

Forbes cited an order by President Biden, which specifically discussed “the risks presented by foreign adversaries’ access to data of United States persons.” More specifically, Biden’s order mentioned foreign adversaries collecting Americans’ data “for the surveillance, tracing, tracking, and targeting of individuals or groups of individuals, with potential adverse impacts on national security.”

The findings were alarming and further investigations showed that TikTok, aka ByteDance, indeed improperly collected data on specific US citizens. The New York Times reported that four employees, two from the US, collected data from journalists and other Americans. Since then, TikTok has vowed to store US citizens’ personal data via Oracle, a Silicon Valley-based company. But the damage has been done. The government doesn’t want the app around.

Is TikTok Worse Than Other Social Media Apps? Not Everyone Thinks So.

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COLLEGE NEWS: Don’t be surprised if your school has banned TikTok. #college #news #socialmedia #tiktokban #auburn #us

♬ original sound – Harlan Cohen

However, it seems like not everyone is too concerned with TikTok, comparing it to other social media apps. All social media apps collect data to some extent. Hence, the issue of China spying on Americans doesn’t raise everyone’s hackles.

At least, that is what Auburn University student Ms. Hunt told the New York Times.

“From what I’ve heard and talking with my friends, I think we all have the same opinion that it just seems silly and not very warranted,” she said. “While I do understand the concern around not knowing where your data is going, that’s not a TikTok-specific thing and all social media apps collect your data.”

As of today, over half of the US states have banned TikTok from government servers and devices. CNN has an interactive map that shows which ones have implemented the ban. Some states have banned additional apps. Currently, a TikTok ban has been proposed but not yet implemented in California, Vermont, Maine, New York, and Massachusetts.

Auburn University isn’t alone as more schools are expected to ban TikTok in the near future. For now, those bans are “limited,” but it will be interesting to see where this goes.

READ MORE: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Keep Your Amazon Echo Alexa in Your Bedroom

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