TikTok Banned On Campus? Here's what to do.

Dec 23, 2022

After a few years dancing around the issue, TikTok is facing the music in statehouses and university campus networks. With Biden officially banning TikTok on federally-issued devices, GovTech is updating its tracker of the states that have banned TikTok use on state-issued devices.

Most recently, the White House directed all federal agencies to ensure TikTok is off all gov't-issued devices by the end of the month. The EU Parliament banned it on Tuesday night, joining the European Commission, and the EU Council who did so for org-issued devices last week.

Back in the USA, TikTok has been banned on campus WiFi by the following universities, with Florida & Tennessee discussing it:

At the local level, statehouses have been banning TikTok like it's going out of style. At last update, it's off state-issued devices from:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Kansas
  • Alabama
  • Louisiana
  • West Virginia
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia
  • Nebraska
  • Georgia
  • New Hampshire
  • Idaho
  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Maryland
  • Indiana's Attorney General Office
  • South Carolina
  • Florida's Dept. of Financial Services

We previously discussed the idea that these were limited bans. State governments have only banned use of the app on state-issued cell phones, and university IT departments are only effectively able to block the app on campus WiFi & wired networks. Federal and EU governing body device bans are wider, such that we might be approaching non-limited bans on the app, at the app store or device level.

But for now, a "limited ban" means that if you’re off campus, on your cellular plan (not Wifi), or on a non-campus/state issued device, the ban doesn’t hit you. You can still watch and post TikToks in the Texas Capitol building, you just won’t be able to post from the state-issued cell phone you get from the Department of Energy in DC. You can get around these bans in a few different ways:

  • Use a VPN to change your location to spoof being outside of the campus network. Depending on how your university IT department is implementing the TikTok ban, you might need to try a few different VPN products.
  • You might be able to access the app by creating a Wifi Hotspot or connecting to a friend’s hotspot. This might carve out service for you on campus, but could lock you out of internal networks.

These are very new bans, so implementation across schools and state governments will be varied. Check back as the situation develops, we're updating the document regularly as the situation shifts. One new feature we're tracking is TikTok's implementation of a 60min limit for teens. This is one of a few features that they announced as of March 1st.