Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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UT Austin Bans Students, Staff from Using TikTok

'If the signs are becoming apparent already, imagine what TikTok addiction will have done to young developing brains a decade from now... '

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) TikTok is now banned on the University of Texas at Austin’s WiFi network as Republican Gov. Greg Abbot’s ban on the app goes into effect.

The executive order, issued in December 2022, cited cybersecurity risks posed by the Chinese-owned app for the ban, reported Big League Politics.

Adviser to the university’s president for technology strategy, Jeff Neyland, sent an email to students outlining the measures taken by institution to comply with the order.

“Recently, UT Austin began the process of removing TikTok from all government-issued devices, including university-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets, and desktop computers,” the email read. “Today, the university blocked TikTok access on our networks. You are no longer able to access TikTok on any device if you are connected to the university via its wired or WIFI networks.”

Neyland explained how the school is implementing steps to “eliminate risks to information contained in the university’s network and to [their] critical infrastructure.”

Abbot’s original directive indicated concerns over the growing threat of the Chinese Communist Party’s influence over ByteDance, and their attempts to infiltrate the U.S. using the social media platform.

“While the federal government holds the ultimate responsibility for foreign policy issues, the State also has the responsibility and opportunity to protect itself,” the order detailed.

The directive banned state employees from accessing the platform via government devices and networks, with some exceptions for law enforcement agencies. TikTok is the most popular app in history, coming out in 2017 and quickly becoming the most downloaded social media platform of all time.

Like all social media platforms, TikTok’s algorithm of the platform panders to the user. What makes TikTok more dangerous than other apps is the minimal attention span necessary to watch short video clips combined with the lack of interaction needed to operate the platform, according to critics.

“If it’s the passive nature of online content consumption that causes atrophy of mental faculties, then TikTok, as the most passively used platform, will naturally cause the most atrophy,” said a report from Gurwinder. “Indeed many habitual TikTokers can already be found complaining on websites like Reddit about their loss of mental ability, a phenomenon that’s come to be known as ‘TikTok brain.’ If the signs are becoming apparent already, imagine what TikTok addiction will have done to young developing brains a decade from now.”

Several investigations into the platform’s privacy and tracking terms are underway globally. Some institutions are even suing the platform for its effect on young kids.

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