Focus at Four: Texas A&M, UT Austin ban TikTok on network devices

KBTX First News at Four EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:54 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Texas A&M University announced Tuesday that it will block access to the popular social media app, TikTok, on its Wi-Fi and wired networks.

The news came on the same day the University of Texas at Austin also announced a ban on its campus.

Gov. Abbott said banning TikTok from government-issued cellphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop computers would protect sensitive information and critical infrastructure from the Chinese government.

Kate McGee of the Texas Tribune joined First News at Four to further discuss the university’s decision to block the social media app.

“Gov. Greg Abbott put out a directive telling state agencies that they must remove TikTok from all government devices, citing cybersecurity concerns. There are concerns that even federal security experts have had about how much data TikTok is accessing,” said McGee.

The decision to ban TikTok on government devices is part of a growing national trend.

The city of College Station told KBTX they have decided to ban TikTok on its network.

The city of Bryan has already banned TikTok from its networks, which includes guest Wi-Fi after the state took similar action last month.

Brazos Valley Congressman Michael McCaul responded to A&M’s decision to ban the app.

“The Chinese Communist Party will use any means at their disposal to infiltrate America’s best universities. Texas A&M’s decision to ban TikTok on-campus Wi-Fi will help stop the CCP in its tracks, prohibiting them from exploiting students’ data and stealing valuable research. I urge other universities to take this threat as seriously as Texas schools like A&M and UT, which continue to set an example for the rest of the nation,” said Rep. McCaul.

Rep. McCaul also praised Gov. Abbott’s decision to ban the app on government devices in December.