Since UA IT services enacted an immediate TikTok ban Jan. 24, UA students have expressed various emotions.
While some think the ban is detrimental to campus organizations and productivity, others said they think it is necessary to ensure Arkansans' privacy.
The ban came as a byproduct of Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Executive Order to Protect State Information and Communications Technology from the Influence of the Adversarial Foreign Governments, one of her first seven executive orders since taking office.
John Thomas, UA director of media relations and core communications, said the university is simply complying with a directive that applies to all of the institutions within the UA System at this time.
"These actions are in the best interest of the information security of the UA System and are consistent with the executive order regarding TikTok released by Gov. Sanders," a campus message sent Jan. 24 stated.
UA students stated mixed opinions about the ban, and student organizations are being forced to get creative with their social media marketing strategies.
Kaila Caligur, a junior advertising and public relations major and assistant manager of Main Hill Media, said she was not surprised about the ban because she had already seen other universities doing the same.
As assistant manager for a creative advertising agency, Caliguar occasionally used the app to boost engagement on social media.
"TikTok was a useful tool for Main Hill because we used the current trends to gain a larger audience for our account and then direct people to our website where they could learn more about our services," Caliguar said in an email. "I think TikTok was a great opportunity for small businesses to gain awareness from so many people in a short time because of the ability to go viral."
Despite the benefits of TikTok, Caliguar said she thinks the ban will provide long-term benefits to student work ethic and overall security.
"It was probably a good decision, because there is more evidence now that the data collected from the app is invasive to our privacy," Kaliguar said. "I think the ban will boost productivity levels on campus because it was known to be a big distraction for students."
Gov. Sanders’ executive order cited privacy as the main reason for implementing limitations. Because Chinese company ByteDance owns TikTok, she said she felt it was no longer safe for the app to be installed on university-issued devices or used on campus internet networks.
"China is locked in economic, political, and military competition with the United States," Sanders stated in the order. "It is a foreign adversary that presents serious challenges to our values, our security, and our economy."
Sophomore Dino Fantegrossi said he agreed with Sanders on the issue, calling the ban not only justified, but necessary.
Despite the debate over privacy, some UA students remain frustrated. With access to TikTok on the university's WiFi network blocked, all accounts affiliated with the university are now inactive.
Senior Autumn Klein, UATV assistant news director and former digital content creator, said she felt her work involving TikTok has been erased.
"While I'm sure they have good reasons for this, we worked hard to create TikTok all last year and build it up so to have to just up and delete it along with the content we worked so hard to create was a little disappointing," Klein said.
Though some might view the TikTok ban as a setback, Caliguar said she also views it as an opportunity for growth.
"I think it will make it more challenging for smaller university related organizations to grow quickly," Caligur said. "However, with this challenge, I think we will be able to get super creative with how we stay connected with social media users."
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