By Corinne Murdock |
Arizona State University (ASU) and Northern Arizona University (NAU) announced Monday that they would begin banning TikTok from their campuses.
In statements to media outlets, the universities cited orders from the Biden administration regarding federal contractors as the rationale for walking back their usage of the platform.
Both ASU and NAU said they would begin deactivating their university-affiliated accounts beginning on Monday. One of ASU’s main accounts, @arizonastateuniversity, last posted in February. One of NAU’s main accounts, @nausocial, last posted a recruitment video to the platform on Monday.
Initial information provided by an ASU spokesperson relayed that ASU would block access to TikTok on its WiFi and university networks. However, in a revised statement, ASU noted that the ban would concern ASU-managed devices, not student devices accessing university networks.
“TikTok will no longer be allowed to be installed on ASU-managed devices as the university takes steps following President Biden’s recent order for federal contractors,” stated ASU.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the order in late February, giving federal agencies and contractors up to 30 days to comply. OMB Director Shalanda Young cited the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 as the basis for the guidance.
The act instructed the OMB, the administrator of General Services, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the director of National Intelligence, and the secretary of Defense to craft guidance removing TikTok from government devices.
According to the OMB guidance, federal agencies are currently in the second phase of this order: 90 days of ensuring compliance and ceasing contracts with the noncompliant. The third phase directs federal agencies to ensure compliance in future contracts and solicitations for 120 days.
The act made exceptions to the ban for law enforcement activities, national security interests and activities, and security research. However, each exercise of this exception must be given via approval and documentation from an agency head or their designee on an annual basis.
Then last month, a TikTok spokesperson claimed to multiple media outlets that the Biden administration demanded that its parent company, ByteDance, either sell TikTok or face a nationwide ban. The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee had voted earlier in the month to given Biden the power to ban the app.
As tensions between the Biden administration and TikTok mounted, the White House faced scrutiny for posting a video reportedly created using another app owned by ByteDance: CapCut.
Biden has also faced criticisms for his use of TikTok influencers for the past two years to attract younger voters, inviting controversial figures like transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney and LGBTQ entertainer Benito Skinner (Benny Drama) to the White House.
The Biden administration also authorized thousands in cash payments to create an “influencer army” using TikTok stars. One of them, Ellie Zeiler, was asked to push Biden administration messaging on the Ukraine war, rising gas prices, and historic inflation rates onto her 10 million followers.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.