Alabama bans use of TikTok on state networks

Kelley Peters, News Editor

On Dec. 12, 2022, Ala. Governor Kay Ivey issued a memo prohibiting the use of TikTok on all state-issued devices and state networks. 

Because the University of North Alabama’s internet service provider is the Alabama Supercomputer Authority, a state-owned network, the ban applies to all devices connected to the Wi-Fi on UNA’s main campus. 

In the memo, Ivey describes her reasoning behind the ban. 

“Recently, national security officials have warned of growing threats posed by the video-sharing app TikTok,” wrote Ivey. “TikTok is owned by a Chinese parent company and thus potentially subject to Chinese laws enabling its data to be shared with the Chinese Communist Party.” 

She then goes on to list the data that TikTok accesses from its users, asserting that most of the data has no connection to the application’s primary purpose, video-sharing.

Ivey believes that, in order to protect sensitive state data from being accessed, banning TikTok on all state-owned devices and on state networks is the most appropriate step to take. 

“It comes from a legal perspective,” said Ethan Humphres, Executive Director of Information Technology Services at UNA. “That’s why this was blocked.”

Some students have reported having issues accessing other social media applications on UNA’s main campus wifi after the ban went into effect and TikTok was blocked. 

“I really don’t like it,” said student Andrew Berry. “I’m addicted to TikTok, so if I’m bored, that’s what I do. It’s really annoying that you can’t do that on campus anymore, because if you can’t do anything else, and it’s all blocked, what are you supposed to do in your free time when your friends aren’t available?”

Other students are more ambivalent to the change, and some even think that the restrictions will benefit them. 

“I don’t really use the wifi that much,” said student Claire Mitchell. “I just use my data. I don’t really care because the wifi in the residence halls is the same. Honestly, it’s probably a good thing for me, so that I stay on task in class. I need some self-control measures.”

Humphres maintains that no other social media besides TikTok has been blocked on campus. He recommends that any students who have difficulties come to the ITS Help Desk for assistance.