SFA still contemplating how to handle Tik Tok after Gov. Abbott directives

SFA still contemplating how to handle Tik Tok after Gov. Abbott directives
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 4:19 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 8:36 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - With TikTok hosting over a billion active users, it has quickly become one of the most popular social media sites.

But, Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive to ban it on government devices has more schools looking at their policies that state whether students are allowed to use the app on campus WiFi.

TikTok’s parent company, “ByteDance,” is based in China. U.S. security experts are worried about extensive collection of data on American users by the Chinese government.

“Most of us have seen TikTok, whether we’ve been on TikTok or on other social media platforms where TikTok videos are shared,” Chief Marketing Communications Officer at SFA Graham Garner said. “We know that it’s popular. We know a lot of people use it; we’ve used it to share information and build an audience.”

Many schools in Texas, including Texas Tech, Midwestern State University and Angelo State University, have banned the app from being used on school-issued devices, and official university TikTok accounts must be deactivated.

Garner said while SFA is following the directive guidelines, the university is monitoring what other schools are doing before rushing into a decision.

“We’re still waiting to understand that information about what the governor’s directive means in terms of accounts that exist because we do know institutions have accounts, departments, offices,” Garner said.

While SFA isn’t ready to release their policy yet, Garner said they want to avoid going to extremes.

Graham said losing many of the official accounts by the school would be a detriment. Plus, they don’t want to impede anyone’s freedom to seek information.

“We want to make sure people have the information they need to have, and we can connect to them,” Garner said. “Of course, in informative ways, but also in entertaining and fun ways. Sometimes sugar helps the medicine go down right.”

But, SFA wants to take any potential threats to security seriously.

“Even if something is popular, easy and fun, we need to make sure we take it seriously if there’s in fact a security concern,” Garner said.

Gov. Abbott gave state agencies until Feb. 15 to set their “own policy governing the use of TikTok on personal devices.”