‘It’s a big threat’: US universities ban TikTok

Across the Atlantic, some businesses have decided to block access to the platform on their computers and internal networks.

Did TikTok fail US universities? If there are not many of them at the moment, some institutions have decided to prohibit access to the platform on their computers and internal networks. Indeed, the short video sharing app with more than a billion active users worldwide, including more than 135 million in the US, is owned by Beijing-based Chinese company ByteDance. And it would be a threat to US national security.

On December 20, A e-mail An internal document signed by David Horton, vice president of the University of Oklahoma, reports this“No university employee or student will be able to access TikTok on university-owned or controlled devices, including the university’s wired and wireless networks.“. Access from the campus network and university-managed TikTok pages will be blocked “Should be removed and replaced” through accounts on other platforms. David Horton refers to this in his letter “Internal and cyber security issues” related to the program.

Versus university communication strategies

The university is based on an order from Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. “ByteDance May Control Important User Information Through TikTok’s Data Collection Policies”, he wrote. Worried that the information in question could be passed on to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the governor issues the order. “No Oklahoma executive or agency employee will download or use TikTok on government networks or government-issued devices.”. This ban applies to phones, computers, and all other government-issued devices that can connect to the Internet.

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In his executive order, Governor Stitt specifically cited FBI Director Christopher Wray’s own remarks in November: “I’m very worried” China can channel American opinion and collect personal information through social media.

The University of Oklahoma is not isolated. Auburn, Alabama, for example, explains the monitoring “TikTok Access Developments”. In Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp has also banned devices connected to the social network in his state. The state’s public university system will follow suit, AP news agency reports.

Suddenly, these decisions contradict the communication strategies of schools and universities, which increasingly use social networks, especially TikTok, to attract new students and promote themselves.

“Allow the return of the USSR New York Times»

While these latest crackdowns don’t stop students from using the app on their personal devices, they come at a time when the American political class’ hostility toward TikTok is intensifying.

Senator Mark Rubio, Republican of Florida, and Representative Mike Gallagher, Republican of Wisconsin, recently introduced a bill to the Democratic representative to ban Americans from using smartphones. Two members of the Grand Old Party have already accused TikTok “It is a great threat to the security of the United States” In a column published in November Washington post.

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“We know that TikTok is being used to manipulate news and influence elections”Marc Rubio writes in a press release. “TikTok is Fentanyl [un médicament pour diminuer la douleur cent fois plus puissant que la morphine, et qui fait l’objet d’un détournement et d’une production illicite, NDLR] Digital (…) owned by ByteDance falls under America’s main rival, the CCP. Allowing the app to continue operating in the US would be tantamount to the USSR buying the apps. New York Times,” Mike Gallagher continues.

There is a risk that this proposal is against the Constitution. Therefore, his chances of passing are low. Congress, for its part, is set to consider another bipartisan bill that would ban social media from devices used by federal officials in the course of their duties. In the past month, nearly two dozen Republican states have passed similar rules for public services, such as Maryland, Texas or Nebraska.

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