The news: More than a dozen higher education institutions have blocked TikTok, and reprisal from 52,000 students is imminent, per Bloomberg.
The ban follows a tightening government clampdown on TikTok, for fear that the Chinese-owned app harvests user data.
Students and educators object: Auburn University, the University of Georgia, the University of Texas, Austin (UT), Oklahoma State University, and others removed the app from school devices or blocked access from school servers.
Why it’s worth watching: We estimated that 61.3% of Gen Z in the US use TikTok at least once a month. Additionally, 58% of American teenagers ages 13 to 17 visit TikTok at least once a day, and 16% access TikTok “almost constantly,” according to Pew Research Center.
Intensifying pushback: At least 25 US state governments, the US military, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have banned the app.
TikTok’s response: While it’s still embroiled in negotiations with the US government, TikTok announced it’s looking at a $1.5 billion plan to reorganize the company’s US operations, per SiliconAngle.
“We’ve made substantial progress on implementing that solution over the past year and look forward to completing that work to put these concerns to rest,” a TikTok spokesperson informed The Wall Street Journal.
Our take: Weaning students off of TikTok, either by forced bans or by educating them on the potential dangers of data breaches, will be a long and painful process that could quickly escalate into a groundswell of support for the app.
This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Connectivity & Tech Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the technology industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.
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