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Indiana universities weigh in over Texas campuses blocking access to TikTok on Wi-Fi networks

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Across the country, several colleges have blocked TikTok from their campus networks as many state governments have issued similar bans.

More and more universities across the country are taking steps to block the app. The most recent school The University of Texas at Austin has blocked access to its Wi-Fi network.

But IU Kelley School of Business associate professor Abbey Stemler says it will be tough.

“They’re just going to have a hard time right? Because students are very clever. They will find ways to get around the censorship or maybe the technical aspects of accessing the apps, but I do think it’s great that universities are starting a conversation,” Stemler said.

This comes after lawmakers raised concerns about its ties to China through its parent company, ByteDance.

The landscape of social media is one that is constantly evolving. Ball State University routinely monitors news and developments pertaining to TikTok and other social media platforms and currently has made no change in policy or access as it relates to social media. Should that landscape evolve in a way that prompts reconsideration, our leadership will do that with the interest of our students, faculty and staff, and our entire campus community at the forefront.

Ball State University Statement

“We do not have any university accounts but employees, staff and students are free to use on their own devices.”

“The decision was prompted by concerns about algorithmic censorship of free speech, risks to user data privacy online and threats to national security in the context of foreign-controlled public media, as documented publicly by the FCC and FBI.”

“Also, the decision came at the end of last year.”

Purdue University Statement

TikTok can track every tap of your screen while you browse through it, which experts say can be dangerous.

“The data that’s behind the location, the identity, the tracking of the individual users in terms of their buying habits or their likes. We know that that is something that can be very damaging if put into the wrong hands,” Stemler said.

Stemler also spoke about freedom of speech.

“Whenever you try to regulate a technology company that is designed to help people communicate and connect with one another you are restricting a means, a pathway of speech. However, I think most would agree that there are other outlets that are available,” Stemler said.

“China-based TikTok is spilling filth into the heads of children – and college students are not immune. This ban by state universities in Texas is a step in the right direction, particularly within schools of any kind. Our children need to be protected. China knows this and limits access by children. And their own children can’t get ads about sexual content, drugs, alcohol, and even suicide because they know it is detrimental to their development. Our country needs to come together and delete TikTok.”

Office of Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita