The University of Oklahoma has announced that it will be banning TikTok for both students and staff, citing national security concerns and compliance with Governor Kevin Stitt’s executive order prohibiting the app on state devices.
In an email to students, Chief Information Officer and Senior Associate Vice President David Horton stated that “effective immediately, no University employee or student shall access the TikTok application or website on University-owned or operated devices, including OU wired and wireless networks.”
Horton also explained that access to the TikTok platform will be blocked and cannot be accessed from the campus network, and that university-administered TikTok accounts must be deleted and replaced with alternative social media platforms. “In compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order 2022-33, effective immediately, no University employee or student shall access the TikTok application or website on University-owned or operated devices, including OU wired and wireless networks,” said Horton.
Governor Stitt’s executive order, which was issued on December 8, prohibits the use of TikTok on all “state government agencies, employees and contractors on government networks or government-issued devices,” including state-issued cellphones, computers, and other devices with internet connectivity.
“TikTok is now banned from state devices and state networks in Oklahoma,” Stitt tweeted the day he issued the executive order. “We will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information.”
In a statement, Stitt explained that “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.”
Northeastern State University, a public university located in Tahlequah, also implemented a ban on TikTok following the issuance of Stitt’s executive order.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and commonly used by younger generations to share short videos on various topics, has faced scrutiny from both President Biden and former President Trump due to national security and surveillance concerns. Trump had previously attempted to ban the app in its entirety.
Gov. Stitt announced the state’s ban on TikTok on Dec 8. From the governor’s website:
Governor Kevin Stitt issued Executive Order 2022-33 today banning TikTok for state government agencies, employees and contractors on government networks or government-issued devices, including state-issued cellphones, computers, or any other device capable of internet connectivity. This executive order is in response to ongoing national and cybersecurity threats created by TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and dissemination of users information within the Chinese Communist Party.
Governor Stitt’s executive order can be read in full here: