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TikTok Banned On TN College Campuses

Last updated on April 26, 2023

By: B. Mack Evans

Amid Tik Tok banning conversations, the app is officially banned on all Tennessee public college campus networks and is no longer accessible to students via the school’s WIFI. 

Governor Bill Lee signed the law Thurs. Apr. 13 that “prohibits public colleges and universities from allowing access to video platforms headquartered in China on-campus internet networks, a measure that targets the Chinese-based social media giant TikTok,” said The Daily Beacon. 

Students are still permitted to access Tik Tok on campus via their cellular data. 

Vol State does not offer on-campus living options and Tik Tok is primarily accessed via mobile phone. Therefore, this does not mean a huge change for Vol State students, but it may mean some students will not be able to easily access their favorite social media if they plan on transferring to a Tennessee 4-year University and living on-campus. 

Tik Tok is best known for its “for you” feature, where the platform’s algorithm decides which video to play for you and gathers as much information about you as possible to show you videos you will like.  

Many other social media platforms have followed with similar options, but TikTok seems to be gathering data other platforms are not. More information being collected includes how much of the video you actually watch before skipping the next one. Although, if you allow camera access as many users do to post content, TikTok can make face and voice prints. 

“We may collect information about the images and audio that are a part of your User Content, such as identifying the objects and scenery that appear, the existence and location within an image of face and body features and attributes, the nature of the audio, and the text of the words spoken in your User Content,” says the news section of the apps privacy policy. 

Tik Tok will also use any data it requests access to when you install the app which includes access to your device’s camera/microphone, location data, photos, and other files stored on the device and in linked cloud storage to better understand users’ interests and recommend videos the user is more likely to enjoy. 

Unlike most Western countries, Chinese law requires companies to comply with all government requests for information; not even a warrant is needed. This data can give the platform, or the Chinese government access to a really good idea of someone’s habits, interests, strengths and weaknesses, which explains why certain government employees have been prohibited from having it on their phones for several years now. 

Research suggests that there is as much as 10 to 20 percent of misinformation on TikTok. 

 China does not allow its citizens to access the same version of TikTok as the United States does. Although the two versions are in different languages, China’s censorship practices lead some people to believe it is deliberately circulating misinformation on the English version.  

Montana has recently banned the app statewide, although there are only penalties for distributing it, not for simply using it if you already have it downloaded. Many other states are considering similar laws. 

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