TikTok is now banned at most of Texas’ public universities after a mandate by the governor — but the same students are still allowed to carry guns under state law.
The University of Texas at Austin was among multiple taxpayer-funded schools that announced the popular social media app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, would be blocked on campus Wi-Fi and wired networks Tuesday.
“The university is taking these important steps to eliminate risks to information contained in the university’s network and to our critical infrastructure,” technology adviser Jeff Neyland stated in an email to students, according to the Texas Tribune.
“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.”
UT Dallas, UT El Paso and the Texas A&M University System followed suit.
Citing the threat of the Chinese Communist Party, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all state agencies to ban TikTok on government-issued devices in December.
Immediately after the edict, state employees could no longer download or use the video-sharing network on government-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets or desktop computers.
State agencies, including universities, were given until Feb. 15 to implement the embargo.
Meanwhile, other public colleges like the University of Houston and Texas Tech, are waiting for additional state guidance, they told the Texas Tribune.
The federal government ordered a similar ban on government devices in December after the FBI warned of possible spying by China on TikTok users, according to NBC News.
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