AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Texas at Austin announced today that it's blocking TikTok on its Wi-Fi and wired networks and devices.
In a letter to students first reported on by the Texas Tribune, UT said, "The University of Texas at Austin is taking steps to comply with Governor Greg Abbott's Dec. 7 directive to all state agencies to eliminate the cybersecurity risks posed by TikTok."
The letter says UT has already started the process of removing TikTok from all government-issued devices and banned it from its networks.
Jeff Neyland, UT advisor to the president for technology strategy, said, "As outlined in the governor's directive, TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users' devices – including when, where and how they conduct internet activity – and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government."
Neyland said blocking TikTok will help eliminate risks to information contained in the university's network and to its infrastructure.
When Gov. Abbott issued his directive ordering all Texas state agencies to ban the use of TikTok, he also said wants to pass legislation making the directive permanent.
The decision was met with mixed reviews from UT students. Freshman Grace Hare said she was "surprised" and "literally could not believe it. I was like shocked, to be honest."
Others feel it's for the better and for their own sake, especially when it comes to personal interactions.
"Maybe now we'll like go outside and form relationships with people," said junior Cristian Moreno.
No matter the reason behind the decision, students agreed it wasn't going to stop them from using TikTok.
"I think it's dumb because you can just, like, turn off your Wi-Fi and connect to your own cellular data. So you're going to have access to TikTok regardless of this ban," said freshman Amy Salmeron.