Students protest against the banning of TikTok on university networks
The banning of TikTok on university networks and school-owned devices has caused student discontent. Disgruntled students are now protesting on campuses against the decision.
TikTok has come under fire in the United States for alleged collaboration with the Chinese government and spying on American citizens. The ByteDance-owned video-sharing app was first banned on federal devices in more than 25 states, and now college campuses are joining the bandwagon. According to Bloomberg, Auburn University, University of Georgia, and Oklahoma State University recently banned TikTok on their devices and on the network.
The University of Texas at Austin, with over 52,000 students, is one of the last universities in the United States to block TikTok. Unsurprisingly, disgruntled students — mostly Gen Z — are opposing the decision.
TikTok is blocked on US university networks and devices
The students believe that the imposition of such restrictions is an “encroachment on students’ personal freedoms”. Grace Featherston, a 22-year-old theater student at the university, said: “It’s the choice of American citizens, if they want to consume TikTok” and “if they want to take that risk”.
Of course, the objection is not just among students. Some university staff also oppose the ban, saying it may impact their relationship with students. Kate Biberdorf, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin, with more than 194,400 TikTok followers, says she uses the app “as an educational tool to make science fun and accessible.” She also called the decision a “push in the wrong direction” that aims to deprive people of their rights.
TikTok landed in hot water after Forbes reported that the app tracked and spied on their reporters. The Chinese video-sharing app also made headlines last week for an alleged “heat” button that is making certain content go viral. If the TikTok controversy continues, Google and Apple could remove the app from their stores.
Political parties also find it risky to impose a ban on TikTok. The main users of the application are young people who are often under 30 and who represent a large sum of votes, especially for the Democratic Party.