Advertisers looking to reach college students and professors in Austin, Texas during school hours are out of luck. The University of Texas at Austin blocked TikTok from its IT network on Wednesday.
Although Austin is one of the most lenient cities in the state of Texas, the decision was made under an earlier order by Governor Greg Abbott, who banned the short-form video application from state-managed resources.
“The university is taking these important steps to eliminate risks to information contained in the university’s network and to our critical infrastructure,” Jeff Neyland, advisor to the president for technology strategy at the university, wrote in a letter. “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.”
The University of Texas at Austin is not the first school to ban TikTok and block the platform from being accessed through its IT system. The University of Oklahoma and Auburn University in Alabama have also taken steps.
More than half of U.S. states have blocked the app. Nearly two dozen states announced restrictions late last year amid security concerns.
Some states and universities have singled out states for executive actions, and others have added other apps such as WeChat and AliPay, both apps based in China.
The University of Texas at Austin
had already begun to remove TikTok from official school cell phones, tablets and other devices.
Neyland, in the letter posted on the school's website, wrote that the university will consider “legitimate uses of TikTok to support university functions,” such as law enforcement, any investigatory matters, and academic research, but requests for an exception must be made through the information security office at the university.