On Tuesday, representatives from the University of Wisconsin said they would ban TikTok from system devices.
Nearly half of states across the country have blocked a popular social media app owned by a Chinese company. Earlier this month, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers banned TikTok from Wisconsin phones and other devices, citing potential privacy and security risks.
The order did not apply to the University of Wisconsin system, which has 40,000 faculty and staff, because it is not an executive agency. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, the top school in the system, has several TikTok accounts, including one for the women’s volleyball team. Universities often use TikTok accounts as a recruiting tool for high school students.
A number of other universities across the country have banned TikTok in recent weeks, including Auburn, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, and Iowa. Several colleges also prohibit students from accessing the platform via Wi-Fi on campus.
TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. Critics say the Chinese government can access user data such as browsing history and location. The US military has also banned the app on military devices.
TikTok is used by two-thirds of American teenagers and has become the second most visited website in the world. But lawmakers in Washington have long been concerned that the Chinese government will use its power to seize US user data or try to promote disinformation or stories in favor of China.