- The University of Florida sent an email Thursday that said prominent experts have pointed to the chance that foreign governments may use the app to control data collection
- Experts have labeled the popular video app as a national security concern
The University of Florida is advising its students to abandon using social media app TikTok, citing growing security concerns that the popular platform poses.
In a Thursday email to the UF community, Vice President and CIO Elias G. Eldayrie told students and faculty members that the university has been monitoring developments regarding the app, noting growing cybersecurity concerns and security risks.
“There is a strong possibility that TikTok will be added in the future to the Fast Path list of software applications not permitted on university devices and networks,” the letter says. “They get access to many things on your phone besides what you use their app for.”
“As a result, the university is strongly discouraging the use of TikTok,” the email continues. “Prominent experts continue highlighting TikTok as a national security concern, pointing to the possibility that foreign governments may use TikTok to control data collection, influence TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, and compromise personal devices.”
Administrators added, “As the university considers additional future steps, we strongly recommend that everyone discontinue using TikTok and remove the app from their devices.”
The popular social video platform is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has been banned on government-owned devices in several states for security concerns.
And this isn’t the first time Florida has looked to remove China’s footprint from the Sunshine State’s soil.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has also lambasted the TikTok in the past, and recently labeled it as “digital fentanyl” in a Fox News interview.
“There’s no need to have actually human spies and intelligence taking place. We banned TikTok in my office over two years ago,” Patronis said. “I mean, it’s digital fentanyl and it’s dangerous what they’re doing and all the different ways they’re pursuing it – and the real estate is just one more way they are getting into our country.”
23 states, including Florida, have taken action against TikTok, with another six states banning its use on devices issued by state governments.
Universities like Oklahoma and Auburn have also taken similar measures in recent months as state and federal lawmakers weigh banning the video app.