University of Texas students express shock at Abbott's TikTok ban on campus

Austin, Texas - The University of Texas has banned TikTok on the school's Wi-Fi network, and students simply can't wrap their heads around it.

The University of Texas has banned TikTok use on the university's Wi-Fi network on campus.
The University of Texas has banned TikTok use on the university's Wi-Fi network on campus.  © Collage: Unsplash/@cameramandan83 & @helloimnik

Time to switch to cellular data.

The bizarre ban was put in place in accordance with a directive from Gov. Greg Abbott, who also imposed a TikTok ban on all government devices.

UT students received an email informing them of the ban on Tuesday, with the university stating that the restrictions aim to "eliminate the cybersecurity risk posed by TikTok."

"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's email said. TikTok's parent company ByteDance is based in Beijing, China.

For today's college students, the move is quite a blow to their daily routines.

While most will probably just turn off their Wi-Fi to continue using the app, it will still pose a bit of a challenge in areas where cell service might be bad or for students without expensive data plans.

In true Gen-Z fashion, many responded with the likes of "not UT banning TikTok," but others pointed out several notable issues that may emerge from the ban.

University of Texas community reacts to TikTok ban

In an ironic twist, University of Texas students reacted to the TikTok on TikTok.
In an ironic twist, University of Texas students reacted to the TikTok on TikTok.  © Collage: Screenshot/TikTok/@mannyescaa & @feathershere

One UT student expressed concern over the potential uptick in racism on campus due to the email's statement that TikTok shares user data with the Chinese government.

"okay the humor of greg [Abbott] being a total bond villain aside, i am genuinely worried banning tiktok @UTAustin will cause an upswing of racism and violence against our asian, asian american, and other aapi students and communities," the student tweeted.

Other members of the UT community have deemed the ban "excessively paranoid" in its fears regarding the spread of sensitive user information.

TikTok has also been an important resource for the university to promote its programs and recruit new students. UT's athletic department's TikTok account currently boasts over 250,000 followers, making it a key tool in catching the attention of prospective student and student-athletes.

Amid the serious concerns, of course, were several videos poking fun at the situation. One TikTok creator shared a screenshot of the email accompanied by the trending sound that says, "You know what it never was? That serious. It was never that serious."

Despite the negative reactions, TikTok bans appear to be continually on the rise, with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy banning the app on state government devices on January 9.

Cover photo: Collage: Unsplash/@cameramandan83 & @helloimnik

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