More education leaders ban TikTok for students and employees

"TikTok's lack of data privacy measures are extremely concerning," wrote Louisiana Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley in a memo to school leaders.

Amid security and privacy concerns, Louisiana’s education chief on Tuesday urged public schools to remove the popular social media platform TikTok from public devices.

Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley is the latest of several state officials calling for restrictions on the app.

Skeptics, including Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, who recently signed an executive order prohibiting the use of the app on all state-owned networks and devices, argue that there’s a growing security risk of the Chinese government accessing personal data and using it to spread propaganda. There is also concern over whether the app worsens teenage students’ mental health, the Associated Press reports.

Brumley advised in a memo to school leaders that school systems remove the app from publicly funded devices as soon as possible, in addition to prohibiting the use of the app as a medium for communication among those involved in extracurricular organizations.

“TikTok’s lack of data privacy measures are extremely concerning,” he wrote in the memo. “For example, various reports have highlighted the lack of safeguards in place to prevent foreign governments from gaining access to private information stored on users’ mobile devices. Therefore, I am advising schools and school systems to immediately remove TikTok or any other applications developed by ByteDance Limited from any publicly funded devices.”

In December, in accordance with Ivey’s executive order in Alabama, Auburn University removed the app from its state-owned devices and prohibits its use while connected to on-campus WiFi.

“In accordance with Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s recent executive order requiring all state-owned networks and devices to block access to and from the TikTok social media application, Auburn University’s Office of Information Technology began blocking TikTok on campus via wifi access on Dec. 13,” according to an emailed statement obtained by Entrepreneur.

One state over, Georgia public colleges also placed a ban on school-issued devices impacting 26 universities and colleges.

The University System of Georgia did so in response to Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to become one of several governors banning the use of the app on state computers.

At least 20 public universities in the state have TikTok accounts, U.S. News reports.

In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order on Dec. 8 prohibiting its use by state entities, which higher education institutions would quickly follow.

In an email sent to Oklahoma State University employees on Dec. 21, the university will “block access to TikTok on its wired and wireless networks,” it reads. Employees “may not use OSU-issued devices to access TikTok.”

The email also mentioned that “access to the TikTok platform will be blocked and cannot be accessed from the campus network” and “university-administered TikTok accounts must be deleted and alternate social media platforms utilized in their place,” according to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

The concerns surrounding TikTok’s access to personal data garnered national media attention when Congress approved a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill last month to ban the app from most government-issued devices. According to the AP, at least 15 Republican governors and one Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly have implemented such restrictions.

TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown told the AP in December that they are partnering with the U.S. government to tackle the issue.


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Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttp://universitybusiness.com
Micah Ward is a University Business staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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