University of Oklahoma bans TikTok following executive order


NORMAN, Okla. (NewsNation) — The University of Oklahoma banned the use of the social media app TikTok for students and staff.

According to an email sent by David Horton, the university’s chief information officer, the university said it would be barring access to the app following Gov. Kevin Stitt’s executive order banning TikTok on state devices.

All employees and students will no longer be granted access to the TikTok application or website on university-owned or -operated devices, including OU wired and wireless networks effective immediately.

Stitt issued an executive order on Dec. 8 that banned TikTok for all “state government agencies, employees and contractors on government networks or government-issued devices.”

The devices include “state-issued cellphones, computers, or any other device capable of internet connectivity,” he ordered.

“We will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information,” Stitt tweeted at the time.

“Maintaining the cybersecurity of state government is necessary to continue to serve and protect Oklahoma citizens and we will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information,” the governor wrote in the order.

University-administered TikTok accounts must now be deleted and alternate social media platforms utilized in their place.

Daniela Orozco Gomez, a University of Oklahoma student, told NewsNation the ban is disappointing and it could be a missed opportunity.

“I know a lot of organizations on campus that use TikTok to advertise meetings or draw more people in,” she said. “Ultimately, at a university campus what you want to do is build a community.”

Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma also announced that TikTok will be blocked from their university-owned devices, as well as campus Wi-Fi networks.

Oklahoma is one of 14 states banning TikTok across state devices.

The University Systems of Georgia followed Gov. Brian Kemp’s lead and banned the use of TikTok, WeChat and Telegram on computers and phones owned by the system or any of its 26 universities and colleges.

Idaho State and Auburn University have also banned the app on their campuses.

TikTok responded to the bans by saying, “We’re disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok.”

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have raised issues with TikTok being used in the U.S., similarly citing national security and surveillance issues, with the latter attempting to ban the app in its entirety. 

NewsNation affiliate KFOR contributed to this report.

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