Governor’s Directive Banning TikTok

On December 7, 2022, Governor Abbott issued an order to all Texas state agencies banning the use of TikTok on state networks and state-issued devices. The ban was implemented because of the threat of nation state actors gaining access to critical U.S. infrastructure and information. 

As a result of the governor’s order and The Texas A&M University System directive, TikTok’s services will be blocked on all West Texas A&M University-owned devices. Included are cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktops, and other internet-connected devices.

WT will deploy management software on all West Texas A&M University-owned devices to enforce the TikTok ban. Management software will block the installation of the TikTok app, remove TikTok on devices where it is currently installed, and prevent devices from communicating with the TikTok service.

The immediate ban does not currently affect personal devices (regardless of whether the employee receives a cell phone allowance). The Texas Department of Public Safety’s Cybersecurity Division and the Texas Department of Information Resources will provide in January guidance related to TikTok on personal devices. Working with The Texas A&M University System, WT will update and communicate changes to the TikTok response plan.

TikTok is an extremely popular video-based social media platform owned by ByteDance Ltd. ByteDance, Ltd. has been known to collect massive amounts of data from TikTok users and share the data and its associated content algorithms with nation state actors. What was originally a privacy concern is now a cybersecurity and influence operational issue.

The protection and security of Texas A&M University System and West Texas A&M University enterprise assets, information, and intellectual property is always a top priority. Thank you for your patience and adherence to the TikTok ban order.