Auburn University has officially blocked the use of Tik Tok on the school’s WiFi.
The ban also includes employees who use school-issued phones, computers, and other devices. On Wednesday, Auburn’s IT manager, Seth Humphrey, sent a notice that all TikTok users would be restricted from using the school’s wireless internet to access the short-form video app. Students living in on-campus housing were also included in this ban, though it appears they may still use the platform over their phone’s internet.
The restrictions come as Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide TikTok ban on all government networks unless it is for “essential government uses.” Ivey, along with many other U.S. government entities, is cracking down on TikTok due to its Chinese roots. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which is headquartered in Beijing. The belief is that the Chinese government is using the app to steal and harvest American users’ personal data.
In June, BuzzFeed News published leaked audio from corporate meetings, suggesting that Chinese TikTok personnel had already acquired countless pieces of U.S. customer data.
TikTok has repeatedly slammed the security concerns, even implementing a new department that uses American-based leadership to oversee the usage and handling of U.S. data security.
Auburn University will likely be one of many schools to take this significant step in getting rid of the app on campuses. Other states, such as Wisconsin, South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, and South Carolina, have all placed similar stipulations in place.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan also issued an “emergency directive” earlier this month to banish TikTok across all state-funded facilities.