Nearly six months have passed since Governor Abbott announced a plan banning TikTok on state owned networks and devices, including state universities. As a result, Texas State University released a statement effectively prohibiting the university and its associated entities from holding accounts on the app.
The statement instructed all existing Texas State TikTok accounts to switch to private and remove all branding and contact information. The university blocked the app on Texas State devices and internet network making it no longer possible to download or access the application.
TikTok is one of the most popular apps used by Generation Z, the generation to which the majority of college students belong. In December, Governor Abbott banned the app on state devices and networks in response to national security risks with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance and how they store information and associatie with the Chinese Communist Party.
The demographic of most college student line up almost perfectly with the age of the majority of TikTok users.
The majority of users in Texas are female and between the ages of 18-24.
Soon after the announcement, the official Texas State TikTok account was made private and no longer active on the platform. However, many Texas State departments and organizations are still active on the app.
KTSW 89.9, Texas State’s official student-run radio station is one organization that still has a presence on the app.
Christian Villarreal, KTSW’s station manager, said the ban negatively impacted the station.
“We were getting a lot of momentum on there (TikTok),” Villarreal said. “We had to figure out what we were allowed to do with the app, how we were allowed to interact with it, which definitely took some time.”
University Marketing and Communication
Giselle Kowalski, digital marketing strategist at Texas State’s division of marketing and communication, who runs the official Texas State main account along with the admissions account, said Texas State entities cannot have an account.
“…We are a state institution, so therefore we cannot have a TikTok,” Kowalski said. “…No one from the university is supposed to be using TikTok…”
Navigating the ban
The division of university marketing and communication have shifted to posting short-form video content on Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts. Meanwhile, Texas State’s official student-run radio station, KTSW 89.9 is still active on TikTok.
The TikTok ban has impacted faculty as well.
Sara Shields, lecturer in the Texas State school of journalism and mass communication, who teaches advanced social media and analytics said that she still discusses TikTok despite not being able to access it on her faculty devices.
“…I still kept TikTok in my curriculum and thought that the state of TikTok was important to discuss in this class where we cover social platforms,” Shields said. “It’s important for students to understand the state of TikTok, especially if they will be going into a social media job role.”
Additionally, Shields thinks if TikTok was to get mass-banned, Instagram could take the place of TikTok.
“…I think Instagram might be in the running for a platform that could potentially replace TikTok,” Shields said. “I don’t think the nature of content is similar, but there are several features on Instagram that are comparable to TikTok’s.”
Efforts have been made to ban the app in more than half of the country’s states.
Over the past five years, TikTok has grown significantly. However, with the success of TikTok in the hands of the government, the future of TikTok is unknown.