CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Concerns over data security and privacy have prompted some local colleges and universities to consider banning the social media app TikTok from their campus Wi-Fi networks, and Clemson University just joined the growing list of schools implementing a ban.
As of Monday, students on Clemson’s campus can’t access TikTok while connected to the school’s Wi-Fi network; however, they can still get on the app while using their cellular data. So far, no North Carolina schools have banned the app, but in South Carolina, Clemson followed Coastal Carolina University and Horry Georgetown Technical College.
Students at UNC Charlotte doubt their school will be next.
“I don’t feel like they would ban TikTok especially since a lot of organizations do promote our events and stuff through TikTok and they promote our school through TikTok. And I don’t know if the students at the school will respond very well,” said Kylon Hill, a UNCC student.
UNC Charlotte officials released the following statement when asked about a TikTok ban: “We will continue to work closely with the UNC System and adhere to their guidance and all applicable laws regarding the use of social media platforms. At this time, TikTok is not banned from campus Wi-Fi. Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to use discretion when using platforms that share personal information online.”
Jill Kay, who manages Wingate University’s social media presence, says the school has no plans to ban the app right now but is taking a “wait and see” approach.
“Our general counsel is great, and he’s all over it. So I’m just kind of taking guidance from him, as to what comes out of this, if anything, but at this time, we’re just sort of keeping it fun, keeping it student-led. And then of course, staying up to date on what other institutions are doing,” Kay said.
Federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continue to express concerns surrounding privacy issues with the app.
The scrutiny stems from TikTok’s data collection practices and potential security vulnerabilities, due to the fact that it is owned by the Chinese company, ByteDance, which is headquartered in Beijing. South Carolina Congressman Ralph Norman is concerned the Chinese Communist Party has a hand in ByteDance, which in turn, results in the CCP having access to millions of Americans’ data.
“This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue. I think this is an issue that affects all Americans. And, you know, if you’re in business with China, they control 51 percent, at the end of the day. In America, that’s not the case, we’re not dominated by government,” Norman said.