State University System orders ban of TikTok

Wednesday afternoon admin released a statement saying Tiktok, WeChat and QQ were banned on FAU wifi.


Elisabeth Gaffney, Staff Writer

The Florida Board of Governors (BoG) sent out a statewide order banning TikTok and other Chinese-owned applications from university Wi-Fi networks.

FAU is one of 12 Florida university campuses affected by the order, according to Renee Fargason, BoG assistant vice chancellor for public affairs. To be in accordance with the request, FAU blocked access to Tiktok, WeChat, QQ, Kaspersky, and Vkontakte on university wifi. Employees were ordered to remove the apps from any university owned devices. 

The BoG manages the State University System of Florida, which includes all public Florida universities and Board of Trustees. 

“Data privacy, particularly concerning student data and faculty research, is a critical priority for the State University System of Florida,” wrote Fargason in a statement to the UP. “Therefore, at a March 29 meeting of the Florida Board of Governors, the Board unanimously approved an emergency regulation prohibiting the use of TikTok and other foreign actors identified as an immediate national security risk, across our 12 public university campuses.”

FAU Office of Information Technology (OIT) sent out an announcement to students, faculty, and staff Wednesday afternoon confirming the ban.

FAU employees are to discontinue the use of these applications or websites on University-owned devices including, but not limited to, laptops, desktops, cell phones and tablets, and uninstall any such applications from their devices,” the announcement reads.

At 5:43 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, OIT Director Charles Thompson informed his colleagues of the ban through Microsoft Teams. That same evening, students reported opening TikTok to a loading screen or error message.

“The State has mandated that we start blocking TikTok tonight. (This is happening at every [State University System] SUS institution as I write this.),” he wrote.

Student Government President Pierce Kennamer also confirmed the ban.

FAU now follows the trend of other Florida colleges and universities, including Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Palm Beach State College, in banning the app.

Skylar Sepanek, a student majoring in health science and resident of Atlantic Park Towers, seems dumbfounded by the sudden change. 

“It’s absolutely heart wrenching,” she wrote in a message to the UP.

Freshman APT resident Adam Cadet shares that he was confused by the unpredictable nature of the ban.

“My thing is it was so random,” he wrote. “Like 6pm on a random Tuesday in April, just banned. Not like the start of the semester or at least the week.”

Elisabeth Gaffney is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Elisabeth at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @elisabethgaff.