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Students, staff, grapple with TikTok ban

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TikTok Banned

TikTok is banned from Oklahoma State University.

During winter break, Gov. Kevin Stitt released an executive order that banned the use of TikTok on all state-issued government devices.

The executive order pointed to “government entities,” such as the United States Military, as an example. Using TikTok on government-issued devices has been banned in response to “its unique national security risks.”

In compliance with the executive order, OSU banned TikTok from university-issued devices and Wi-Fi. For students, this means TikTok is no longer accessible on personal devices connected to OSU's Wi-Fi, eduroam.

Riley Flickinger, a political science major, said she discovered the ban when trying to use the app.

“I know about the TikTok ban, but it wasn’t because I heard it from the school or even anyone at school,” Flickinger said. “I just went on the app one day and it just stopped working.”

Limiting social media access is a new move on OSU’s campus. Many of OSU’s teams and organizations have TikTok accounts, including football (@cowboy_fb), men’s basketball (@osumbb), the Student Union Activities Board (@suabokstate) and the university itself (@okstate). 

These accounts connect with students on a popular platform. Using social media is a powerful tool to share information in today’s college landscape.

In a university announcement, OSU shared its reasoning behind this decision.

“On Dec. 8, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt issued Executive Order 2022-33, which prohibits employees of the State of Oklahoma from downloading or using the TikTok app on state-issued devices or networks,” the announcement said. “In compliance with the order, Oklahoma State University blocked access to TikTok on its wired and wireless networks on Dec. 22. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will remain flexible in our approach to compliance with this executive order.”

OSU is not the only university to ban TikTok. Many southern universities, including University of Oklahoma, University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M, have banned the video-based app.

The ban, while in compliance with the executive order, does not prohibit students from using TikTok. The app is accessible to users once they are no longer connected to OSU’s Wi-Fi, meaning personal data must be used.

Trevor Frieson, a management and marketing double major, said he still uses TikTok.

“I think, really, it’s not a big deal at all, however, for those people who don’t have the unlimited data or data to spare, it is definitely quite a big deal, as they have limited to zero access,” Frieson said.

The goal of the executive order was to limit usage and interaction of TikTok from Oklahoma’s citizens. OSU’s decision to ban TikTok on university devices is in accordance with this and extends to students, faculty and staff. Regardless of intentions, the ban has not created a large impact on students.

Flickinger said the ban has created an inconvenience.

“I don’t think it’s a huge deal, but it is just more of a nuisance,” Flickinger said. “We could all just turn our Wi-Fi off and use it, but it is a bit annoying when I want to go use it and forget it doesn’t work on the Wi-Fi.”

Students are not letting the ban affect their usage of the app. Using personal data is a common way to work around the ban. 

Frieson echoed Flickinger’s sentiments, saying the ban is a minor hindrance. 

“Now I definitely use it less, however, knowing what a simple fix it is to get around the ban, it’s just an inconvenience at this point,” he said. 

Evyne Gilmore, a psychology pre-med major and public relations chair for the College of Arts and Sciences Freshman Student Council, said using social media helps her connect with her target audience. 

“Using social media is important for PR chair because it allows me to reach a different side of the community that I don’t get to meet in person,” Gilmore said.” It also allows me to make an impact that can reach everybody, and promote in different creative forms.”

The O’Colly reached out to university officials, but they declined to comment. 

To read Stitt’s executive order, visit this website or and search “TikTok ban.”